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Posted Wednesday, May 27, 2015, at 6:15 p.m.




Service learning can be applied across all disciplines to meet a community need and to enhance course curriculum. The curriculum enrichment improves student motivation, retention and satisfaction.

Programs help to develop critical thinking skills, foster a desire for lifelong service and make curriculum relevant to students' lives.

Course Integration

Several types of opportunities are available to apply to various disciplines. Recognition of particular course objectives and the degree to which these objectives might be met and/or enhanced through service learning is essential.

Academic Criteria

The teacher must first identify the subject matter standards that will be the content core of the service learning. Standards provide a basis on which a student designs the activity and must explain what the student is expected to know and be able to do as a result of the service learning activity.

Several criteria must be followed in order to ensure that students are learning from the experience.

  1. Placement sites must be chosen that will allow students to meet a community need, have a meaningful service experience, and learn valuable lessons that enhance course curriculum.
  2. The course must be designed to facilitate learning through service. Appropriate reflection time must be allocated, and students should be given basic instructions on how to reflect on a service experience.
  3. Students should be able to properly articulate the connection they see between their service experience and course material. Students sometimes struggle with making this connection, but with faculty guidance, it can be done.

Credit and Reflection

One could consider service learning as simply a different homework assignment. Students receive credit for demonstrating that learning took place through thoughtful reflection.

Reflection enables students to integrate their experiences with the course material. Instructors should assess reflection through assignments including journal writing, final papers and/or class discussions.

Only faculty members who have an interest in this pedagogy and have explored, investigated and thoughtfully designed it to apply to their course should use service learning.

How Do I Start

Service learning books (PDF will open in new window) are available to help with course integration.

Faculty must submit a course proposal form or contact their campus service learning representative to show interest.



Updated May 27, 2014


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