What is service-learning?
Service-Learning is a “credit-bearing, educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.” Bringle and Hatcher
How is service-learning different from community service and internships?
The primary beneficiary of community service is the recipient of the service; the primary beneficiary of an internship is most often the student, who gets hands-on experience. In service-learning, both student and community benefit; a student learns in a hands-on model while providing a service that benefits the common good.
Studies indicate that students forget half of what they learn passively, but they remember 90% when they DO the “real thing.” The Astin HERI study indicated that service participation showed significant positive effects on all its outcome measurements, including: GPA, writing skills, critical thinking, values, self-efficacy, and leadership. In addition, many students find that hands-on learning is more engaging and service more meaningful than typical learning exercises.
Yes, Service Hub can assist with everything from restructuring syllabi to selecting community partners.
The Hub collects information on community requests for assistance. Faculty members ask Service Hub staff to provide possible sites where service goals match course learning goals. Faculty members then consult with agencies and community organizations to select sites that provide the most appropriate match. Safety, supervision, orientation, and evaluation are important considerations for both faculty and community partners.
Courses with a service-learning distinction can be found in the current schedule.
It depends on the class and the instructor, but generally the amount of service is not the important part. Academic credit is awarded for the learning that comes from the experience. The learning may be measured by projects, papers, presentations, journals, or other methods, and the course is structured so that students do different work, not more work.
The nature of the service varies with the discipline….from grant writing and tutoring in composition classes to designing and building playgrounds and special wheelchairs in engineering classes. The service may be in the form of a project such as a marketing plan for a non-profit in a business class or weekly mentoring at an agency or school. In all cases, the service is directly connected to course learning goals and is designed to enhance learning by testing theory or developing skills.
The hyphen emphasizes the reciprocal nature of service-learning. Both the community and the students benefit.
Students who learn best by “doing” often perform better in service-learning classes. Critical thinking skills are also developed by recognizing and participating in solving problems, skills that employers demand. As the job market changes, many graduate school and job applications are asking for community service experience.
Yes, many universities require service-learning for graduation.