Center for Academic Service-Learning

What is Service Learning?

Service-Learning, as defined by the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse, is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

Academic Service-Learning enhances academic learning by enabling students to apply knowledge and skill gained through academic study to real world problem solving and to appreciate the connections between their academic work and real world activities.

Academic service-learning at California Lutheran University combines community service with explicit academic learning objectives, preparation, and reflection. Students are expected to provide direct community service as part of academic courses and to understand the connection between the service and their academic coursework.

Academic Service-Learning enhances academic learning by enabling students to apply knowledge and skill gained through academic study to real world problem solving and to appreciate the connections between their academic work and real world activities.

High quality academic service-learning incorporates the following characteristics:

  • High academic rigor
  • Meaningful service
  • Active student engagement
  • Collaboration with community partners
  • Civic responsibility
  • Powerful reflection that integrates the service and learning components

Why Academic Service-Learning?

The key elements of academic service-learning are service and learning and not just random service nor random learning. Service and learning are deliberately and explicitly tied to the learning objectives of the course.

Additionally, as the learning objectives are achieved through service-learning projects, students are developing as responsible, contributing, and productive citizens and, their communities are benefiting directly from their service.

Please note that Service-learning is not:

  • An episodic volunteer program
  • An add-on to an existing school or college curriculum
  • Logging a set number of community service hours in order to graduate
  • Compensatory service assigned as a form of punishment by the courts or by school administrators
  • Only for high school or college students
  • One-sided: benefiting only students or only the community

 

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