Service Learning

What is Service Learning?

Service Learning is a pedagogy that promotes student learning through active participation in meaningful, planned community service experiences that address community defined needs and are substantially related to course content. Through reflective activities, students enhance their understanding of course content, general knowledge, sense of civic responsibility, self-awareness and commitment to the community.

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 of the following elements should be present in every Service Learning activity or project and should work in concert to create powerful teaching and learning experiences. For details on the following eight elements, download the information sheet  Eight Key Elements of Service Learning here. The Service Learning experience should include the following:

  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

  7. Foster civic responsibility and diversity

  8. Provide ongoing, embedded evaluation with all participants aware of what will be evaluated