Service-learning* is a structured learning experience that combines community service with explicit learning objectives, preparation, and reflection. Students involved in service-learning are expected not only to provide direct community service but also to learn about the context in which the service is provided, the connection between the service and their academic coursework, and their roles as citizens.
Service-learning is a form of experiential education that:
Service-learning is significantly different from other forms of experiential education in that it:
* Composite definition from Jacoby, B. and Associates. (1996). Service-Learning in Higher Education: Concepts and Practices. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Seifer, S.D. (1998). Service-learning: community-campus partnerships for health professions education. Academic Medicine; 73:2. In Seifer, S.D. & Connors, K., Eds. Community Campus Partnerships for Health. Faculty Toolkit for Service-Learning in Higher Education. Scotts Valley, CA: National Service-Learning Clearinghouse, 2007.
Learn and Serve America’s National Service-Learning Clearinghouse Faculty Toolkit for Service-Learning in Higher Education contains a list of tips for getting started.
The Service-Learning Course Design Workbook contains a set of principles of good practice for service-learning pedagogy.
According to the Campus Compact*, exemplary service-learning syllabi:
* From Heffernan, K. (2001). Fundamentals of Service-Learning Course Construction. Providence, RI: Campus Compact.
Examples of purposeful civic education objectives can be found in the Service-Learning Course Design Workbook. The American Association of Community Colleges has also assembled a Practical Guide for Integrating Civic Responsibility into the Curriculum. California State University Monterey Bay has also identified desirable outcomes of service-learning courses.
Check out the reflection activities compiled by Miami Dade College. Learn and Serve America’s National Service-Learning Clearinghouse has a fact sheet on reflection in higher education service-learning. See also Northwest Service Academy’s Service Reflection Toolkit, as well as the Reflection Template from Learning through Critical Reflection: A Tutorial for Service-Learning Students by Ash, Clayton, & Moses (2009).
General expectations regarding good student conduct are presented in an orientation to the Do’s and Don’ts of Service-Learning. This presentation is designed for students who are new to service-learning. Let us know if you’d like to have a member of our staff come to your class to lead this presentation.
California State University has published a very thorough Best Practices for Managing Risk in Service Learning, which contains materials that can be adapted and modified. Examples of guiding principles of risk reduction are also explained.
Guidelines along with sample agreement forms and a worksheet for writing a partnership agreement or memorandum are available here.
Check back soon for principles of partnering identified by community organizations.
The Faculty Toolkit for Service-Learning in Higher Education contains a partnership assessment tool that can be used to measure the success of your partnership.
USF’s Service Learning Pro database helps USF faculty inform the campus and surrounding community of their community engaged research initiatives and/or of community engaged learning courses they offer. Through use of an online database management system and an easy to use interface faculty can enter information about their service learning course and identify community organizations that are seeking to partner with USF.
Yes, Community Campus Partnerships for Health and Learn and Serve America’s National Service-Learning Clearinghouse have published a Faculty Toolkit for Service-Learning in Higher Education.