Service-Learning and Civic Engagement

Service-Learning

What it is...

  • a pedagogy
  • enhances students understanding of the course learning goals 
  • a form of experiential education
  • meets community-identified needs
  • allows students to apply what they are learning in class in the community and learn while they are serving
  • focuses equally on learning and service
  • reciprocal because it benefits both the student and the service recipient
  • helps build partnerships between colleges and community-based organizations

What it isn't...

  • internships, clinical's, or field studies which focus on learning rather than service
  • volunteerism which focuses on service and the service recipient but not on students and learning
  • free or convenient labor
  • work for pay
  • an "add-on"
  • a stand-alone, one-time project that does not relate to the course learning goals

What is Service-Learning?

Student Benefits of Service-Learning

  • Learn from a hands-on experience
  • Gain personal and interpersonal skills
  • Develop social problem solving skills
  • Learn civic innovation and responsibility
  • Form relationships with potential employers, receive recommendations for jobs, and gain experience that will add to a resume or portfolio
  • Learn in a different atmosphere (not just from texts or classroom lectures)
  • Become more actively involved in the community
  • Sharpen critical thinking skills through engagement with social issues

Goals of Service-Learning

  • Enhance academic learning
  • Develop character and citizenship skills
  • Learn about social issues impacting the local community
  • Deepen critical thinking and communication skills
  • Engage in meaningful service that has a mutually beneficial impact