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Service Learning Criteria

Service Learning is a form of collaborative experiential education which engages students in community volunteer and service activities using teaching, active learning, and reflection to nurture civic responsibility, caring, and community mindedness in order to promote a commitment to public life; ethical, critical reasoning, and deliberation; and working for the common good of everyone.

To qualify as an Applied Learning Experience in Service Learning:

  • Students must complete a minimum of 20 hours of service.
  • Projects may be sought independently or as part of a course.
  • Written reflections should include personal reactions to the service and learning experiences.
  • Students must participate in an orientation/training prior to the service (i.e. orientation to project requirements e.g. risk management, assessment, project completion, etc).
  • Students cannot receive monetary or other compensation for the service, i.e., service must be a volunteer effort.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

The SLOs expected from all Applied Learning Experiences are as follows:

  • Student will evaluate how the applied learning experience expanded their views in order to contribute to a diverse, global society. (Global/Diversity Awareness)
  • Students will assess the overall experience and ascertain the larger implications of the experience as they apply to the discipline and beyond. (Broader Impact)

Service Learning ALEs may additionally address any or all of the following SLOs:

  • Demonstrate Growth - Articulate the acquisition, integration, construction, and application of knowledge.
  • Improve Cognitive Complexities - Recognizes and gives some validity to different dimensions, values, and viewpoints in a situation, along with links or interactions among them.
  • Diversity of Communities and Cultures - Demonstrate evidence of adjustment in own attitudes and beliefs because of working within and learning from diversity of communities and cultures. Promote others' engagement with diversity. 
  • Analysis of Knowledge - Connect and extend knowledge (facts, theories, etc.) from one's own academic study/field/discipline to service, civic engagement, and one's own civic participation in life, politics, and government.
  • Identity and Commitment - Provide evidence of experience in civic engagement activities and describe what they have learned as it relates to a reinforced and clarified sense of civic identity. Develop an appreciation and continued commitment to service, humanitarianism, public action, etc.
  • Interpersonal Communication - Tailor communication strategies to effectively express, listen, and adapt to others to establish, foster, and maintain relationships to further service and civic action.
  • Action and Reflection - Demonstrates independent experience and shows initiative in team leadership of complex or multiple service activities, accompanied by reflective insights or analysis about the aims and accomplishments of one's actions.
  • Contexts and Structures - Demonstrate ability and commitment to collaboratively work across and within community contexts and structures to achieve a service/civic aim.

(Criteria from AAC&U Civic Engagement VALUE Rubric. See all VALUE rubrics.)