Student Stories


Service Learning

Service Learning gives you real-world experience using the skills from your degree to help address issues in the community while you learn. It’s different from volunteer work or charity, because Service Learning benefits the campus and community reciprocally: community partners play a crucial role in educating students in Service Learning courses about how their programs and services work while cultivating student professional skills; and students contribute to the community by working on community-defined needs.

Service Learning can be direct (hands-on in the community) or indirect, where students work on community issues or projects from campus or their own computers. Reflection is an important part of your Service Learning experience -- service is one thing, but reflecting on your service experiences is what really gives students the tools to grow and succeed in new ways going forward. After participating in Service Learning, students often feel empowered to make change in their community, having gained valuable work experience that clarifies their career goals.

For more information on Service Learning pedagogy, see the Eight Key Elements, below. 



Why should I get involved?
  • STUDENTS have the opportunity to apply academic concepts to real life scenarios, address community needs, build professional and personal skills and experiences.
  • COMMUNITY PARTNERS have the opportunity to bring in diverse perspectives and energy into their agencies, receive assistance on programs and projects, build future stakeholders.
  • FACULTY have the opportunity to build depth and relevance into course student learning objectives, make course readings come alive, connect with community partners to addree needs.
Research shows that Service Learning can: 
  • High Impact Practices - Kuh
  • 1/16/18 webinar (CACC) From Research to Action: Findings from a Systemwide STEM Service-Learning Research Study coming soon!
  • More research links coming soon!

Eight Key Elements of Service Learning

Service Learning can be incorporated into all disciplines. The following elements are what students should know and be able to do as a result of their participation in a Service Learning course. All eight elements should be built into every Service Learning course and should work in concert to create powerful teaching and learning experiences. For details, download the information sheet Eight Key Elements of Service Learning here. The Service Learning experience should:

  1.  Meet a real community-identified need, integrating "community voice"
  2.  Link to curriculum - be tied into and enhance the curriculum of the established "S" Designated Service Learning course
  3.  Prepare and orient/train the student: to both the learning site/community partner organization and Service Learning pedagogy
  4.  Reciprocity: partnerships must be reciprocal in practice, being worthwhile and valuable for all participants -- student, faculty, and community
  5.  Provide systematic reflection activities that are embedded throughout the course 
  6.  Undergo constant development: Service Learning - both the student experience and the course evolution- occurs in different stages and on different levels, for all participants
  7.  Foster civic responsibility and diversity
  8.  Provide ongoing, embedded evaluation with all participants aware of what will be evaluated