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Service Learning Center

Service Learning

About Service Learning

A teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and to strengthen communities.  Curriculum includes structured field-based "experiential learning" alongside community partners, which reinforces course learning outcomes.  

Example: An Introduction to Mathematical Ideas Course assigns students to select a nonprofit agency that requires statistical research for program evaluation, public needs assessment, or public relations and support.  Students assist the agency, based on its need in developing a survey tool, organizing and/or conducting the survey, compiling data, or some combination of these tasks. 

Service Learning vs Community Service

Community Service: Any type of volunteer (unpaid) work/service that provides a tangible benefit to the community.  

Example: A group of volunteers partner with their local clean commission to pick up trash along the roadside.  (Incidentally, this could be considered a service learning activity for a course is students, then analyze the trash for various reasons, report on their finding and reflect on the litter problems in that area.)

Criteria for Service Learning

Service Learning is a teaching and learning strategy through which students learn and develop by designing, organizing, implementing, evaluating and reflecting on meaningful service experiences: 

  • that meet actual community needs;
  • that are coordinated in collaboration with the university and community;
  • that are integrated into the students' academic curriculum; 
  • that provide structured time for thinking about, writing about, analyzing, and discussing what is seen and done in the service learning process; 
  • that enhance what is taught in the classroom by providing opportunities for students to apply knowledge and skills in real life situations in their own communities; 
  • that help foster the development of a sense of caring for others; and 
  • that build a sense of social responsibility and civic understanding. 

 

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