Office of the Provost

Service Learning Course Resources

This page is primarily for faculty who want to learn more, and who want to submit a course or section for the Service Learning designation. 

Service learning is a method under which students learn and develop through thoughtfully organized service that…

  • is conducted in and meets the needs of a community;
  • is coordinated with an institution of higher education, and with the community;
  • helps foster civic responsibility;
  • integrates into and enhances the academic curriculum of the students enrolled course;
  • includes structured time for students to reflect on the service experience; and
  • incorporates the Institutional Student Learning Outcomes: Civic and Global Learning

Addressing how this service learning course section differs from a traditional section by discussing three main areas of service learning: critical reflection, meaningful service, and civic awareness. Below are questions to consider while developing your narrative. By specifically addressing these questions, you will help to provide the review committee with a more complete picture of your course as well as your rationale for developing this as a service learning course. You do have the option to attach additional documents (e.g. specific questions or guidelines for students’ reflection, the community partner selection process, assignment or project descriptions) under Supporting Documentation in the application. Also be sure to review the Service Learning Syllabus Guide.

Meaningful Service

Service learning courses provide relevant and meaningful service by placing students in projects that are tailored to address community and societal needs.

  • What type of community partner(s) (agency/organization) do you envision partnering with on this project?
  • How do you plan to develop and facilitate a reciprocal relationship between students and the community?
    • Reciprocity ensures that both the student and community partner mutually benefit from the experience. The student provides a service to the community just as the community partner provides a learning experience for the student.
  • What kind of impact do you anticipate the service learning course will have on the community?
  • What kind of impact do you anticipate the service learning course will have on the students’ learning?

Critical Reflection

Service learning courses provide rigorous and enhanced academic learning by interconnecting community action and critical reflection about the community interaction.

  • How will you incorporate critical reflection into your course?
  • What activities or assignments will students complete to foster their reflection?
  • How will their reflection be guided and assessed? 

Civic Awareness

Service learning courses provide purposeful civic learning by creating a learning environment in which students can acquire the knowledge, skills, and values to make an explicit contribution to themselves and their communities, both local and global, through civic participation.

  • How does this partnership and experience relate to and enhance your course curriculum?
    • How does this experience relate to the “SL” designation-learning outcome?
  • How might this experience encourage civic awareness?
    • Civic awareness or civic consciousness refers to an individual’s knowledge and understanding of community issues, including an appreciation for the need for service and a personal desire to contribute through community engagement.

Service Learning Syllabus Guide

The course syllabus plays an essential role in communicating your expectations to students. This can be especially important for service learning courses which potentially require students to go above and beyond what they are typically asked to do in non-service learning courses. The Service Learning Advisory Committee looks for service learning syllabi to demonstrate a cohesive integration of service learning including expectations for critical reflection, meaningful service, and civic awareness. The committee recognizes that these elements are addressed in the course modification question section of the application, but they should also be identified in the syllabus. Specifically, the committee is looking for description of the service project, learning outcomes, assessment of the service-learning project, and details on how students will critically reflect on the service experience.

Below are areas of the syllabus in which the committee might expect to find elements of or references to service learning. If this level of description does not fit within your syllabus, we strongly encourage you to provide additional documents under Supporting Documentation in the application. 

To help facilitate the review process, please be sure to highlight in yellow the service learning components in your syllabus.

 Course Description or Purpose

If you are able to make changes or update the existing course description or purpose, we would encourage service learning to be addressed. 

Required Learning Outcome

Reflecting on their semester-long service-learning experience, students:

  • Describe the relationship between the concepts/theories they learned in class and the service they did in the community; (meaningful service, critical reflection)
  • Discuss the issue that their service addressed, including possible solutions; and (meaningful service, critical reflection, civic awareness)
  • Explain how the experience affected their personal (civic), academic, career goals/plans. (critical reflection, civic awareness)

 Assessment (Assignments & Grading Scale)

How are students graded on the service learning elements in the course? 

Project Description

Your syllabus should include an explanation of how the service experience relates to academic content as well as a full description of the service learning activity. Think about how the project will be introduced, executed, evaluated, and completed. How much time are students required to commit to service? 

Course Calendar/Outline

Depending on the level of detail and appropriateness, you could include service learning activities, reflection, and due dates in the course calendar/outline.

Last Updated: 6/27/22