Benefits & Impacts
- Promotes learning through active participation in service experiences
- Provides structured time for students to reflect by thinking, discussing and/or writing about their service experience
- Provides an opportunity for students to use skills and knowledge in real-life situations
- Extends learning beyond the classroom and into the community
- Fosters a sense of caring for others
Benefits for Students
They get out of the classroom and make a difference. Community service will help them use their talents and knowledge to change lives, including their own!
National studies have validated the benefits of service learning for students, demonstrating that participation in volunteer service during college has widespread positive affects on students' academic and personal development.
- Service participation positively affects students' commitment to: their communities, helping others with difficulties, promoting racial understanding, and influencing social values.
- Service participation strengthens the development of important life skills, such as leadership abilities, self confidence, critical thinking, group problem solving, and conflict resolution.
- Service participation also has a unique positive effect on academic development, including grades earned, degrees sought, time devoted to academic endeavors, academic self confidence, and students' self-assessments of knowledge gained.
- Service participation can translate into career advancement regardless of discipline, as is attested by the fact that graduates have ranked volunteer experience as the single most important factor in gaining employment.
Benefits for Faculty
Research demonstrates that community service enriches and supports the academic experience of students. Faculty can integrate service into their curriculum, will help students understand and connect with their community.
Recent research on service-learning in higher education indicates that the most successful service-learning experiences include several key components, such as critical reflection linking service to learning goals, and service activities that are clearly aligned with intended learning outcomes (Eyler & Giles, 1999).
Eyler, J. & Giles, D.E. (1999). Where's the learning in service-learning? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
What do we know about the impacts of service-learning?
A national study of Learn and Serve America programs suggests that effective service-learning programs improve academic grades, increase attendance in school, and develop personal and social responsibility.
Whether the goal is academic improvement, personal development, or both, service-learning can help students learn critical thinking, communication, teamwork, civic responsibility, mathematical reasoning, problem solving, public speaking, vocational skills, computer skills, scientific method, research skills, and analysis.
Service-learning builds stronger academic skills:
- Students take an active role in determining how the projects are identified and accomplished, creating interest and excitement for learning.
- Service-learning accommodates many different learning styles.
- By teaching students early about the role they can play in their community, service-learning also encourages lifelong civic participation.
- By relating academic activities to real-life experiences, service-learning improves workplace skills and enhances personal development among youth.
- Service-learning gives students a sense of competency; they see themselves as active contributors to their community and learning experiences rather than passive recipients of adult decisions.