Academic Service Learning Resources

What is service learning?

Service learning is a pedagogy in which students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized community service. The service experience is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the student.   –Modified from the Corporation for National Service

Simpson’s Academic Service Learning program integrates service into the course.  Incorporating a hands-on service activity into the class provides students with a practical application of the theories they are learning in the classroom. Concepts and models discussed in the classroom can be examined in detail through personal observation during the field experience.

How academic service learning affects students:

  • Deeper understanding of subject matter
  • Increased reported learning and motivation to learn
  • Improved ability to apply material learned in class to real problems
  • Deeper understanding of the complexity of social issues
  • Reduced negative stereotypes and an increase in tolerance for diversity
  • Development of leadership skills
  • Enhanced ability to work with others
  • Increased feeling of being connected to a community
  • Closer ties to students and faculty

Adapted from Janet Eyler and Dwight E. Giles. Where’s the Learning in Service-Learning? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999.

Characteristics of effective service learning:

  • Faculty members engage students in reflection to help them process their field experience and relate it to course material.
  • Students feel connected to the mission of the organization through on-site orientation and meaningful service projects with human interaction.
  • Agencies receive valuable support for community needs.

How to use service learning with your class:

Contact the Service Hub to discuss your goals for your course and how a service project can help achieve those goals. We can offer ideas for activities and integration and provide sample syllabi from other faculty who have worked with this pedagogy as well as those of other colleges and universities if requested. We can coordinate the logistics of identifying appropriate agencies for your students’ placements and will assign your students accordingly.

Check out these links for further information and call us with further questions: