Learning through Service, Oct 2015

Have you thought about including service learning in your teaching?

Service learning projects are developed by connecting student learning objectives and community need. As such, the resulting partnership is mutually beneficial for all parties. The project activities and deliverables can vary widely as service learning can take on many forms.

Service learning actively engages students in the community.  As a form of experiential learning, it provides direct experience and hands-on learning to develop skills useful in future careers, family life, and community involvement.  It can help develop critical thinking through involvement in situations conducive to creative, effective problem-solving, and it can enhance students’ social responsibility by expanding their compassion, civic awareness, and desire to be engaged in the community.

Service learning can fall into three general categories (Furco, 1996):

  • Direct: Students are in direct contact with people and/or organizations (e.g., tutoring at the Boys and Girls Club)
  • Indirect: Students engage with a cause or a community need through means that does not involve having constant contact with beneficiaries (e.g., market research, designing surveys, creating websites
  • Civic Action or Advocacy: Students are provided with an opportunity to affect change in public policy (e.g., presenting at a Town Safety Meeting or Legislative Public Hearing)

Service Learning courses are designated and searchable in the Peoplesoft system. Faculty who use the pedagogy of service learning can have their courses designated as such by completing this application, which will allow the University and the Office of Public Engagement to gain accurate information for reporting and quality purposes.  It will also provide students necessary information about their coursework.  Submissions are due by Friday, Oct. 16 at noon for Spring 2016 courses. Once submitted, applications will be reviewed by the Service Learning Committee.

For more information on service learning, access this week’s 20-Minute Mentor video, “Can Service Learning Work in My Discipline?” Link to the Presentation by clicking here: http://www.mondaymorningmentors.com.  From this link, you can view the featured presentation, as well as access the transcript, handouts, and supplemental material. You will need to enter the following password in order to view the program: work9403.  Note that the video and attached supplemental materials will be available only until Sunday, October 18, 2015. 


  • Contact the Office of Public Engagement for more information or for help getting started on developing your service learning course or project
  • To learn more about the faculty benefits of service learning, visit Faculty Overview
  • Visit National Campus Compact for models of service learning across disciplines and institutions.
  • Spring 2016 SL Course Designation Applications are due by Friday, Oct. 16 at noon.  To submit a course, please click on this application