Office of Student Engagement

About Service Learning

Service-learning is described as the combination of service objectives with learning objectives and the intent that the activity changes both the recipient and the provider of the service. This is accomplished by blending service tasks with structured opportunities that link the task to self-reflection, self-discovery, and the acquisition and comprehension of values, skills, and knowledge content.

Characteristics of Service-Learning

  • Community service serves as the vehicle for the achievement of specific academic goals and objectives
  • It provides structured time for students to reflect on their service and learning experiences through a mix of writing, reading, speaking, listening, and creating in small and large groups and individual work
  • It fosters the development of those "intangibles:" empathy, personal values, beliefs, awareness, self-esteem, self-confidence, social responsibility and a sense of caring for others
  • It is based on a reciprocal relationship in which the service reinforces and strengthens the learning and the learning reinforces and strengthens the service
  • Credit is awarded for college-level learning, not for a requisite number of service hours

Benefits of Service-Learning include:

  • Enhanced personalized education for students
  • Teaches positive values, leadership, citizenship, and personal responsibility
  • Empowerment of students as learners, teachers, achievers, and leaders
  • Invites students to become members of their own community
  • Teaches job skills and prepares students for careers after college
  • Encourages faculty to be innovative and creative in their teaching
  • Contributes to a university's outreach efforts to the local community, the state, and beyond
  • Increases campus-community collaboration and partnerships