Academic service-learning is a viable pedagogy for use in all disciplines. As an innovative and rigorous teaching methodology, it utilizes community-based activities as a means of enhancing academic learning. Students gain a deeper understanding of course content while engaging in the civic life of their community.
Academic Service-learning is guided by three essential criteria:
Enhanced Academic Learning: Through extensive reflection on course material in light of student’s community service, academic service learning is a methodology that enhances academic learning and understanding of course material. Relevant and meaningful service with the community is tied directly to the learning objectives of the course. Academic Service- Learning is not a course “add-on” or simply student volunteerism.
Relevant and Meaningful Service: The community-based activities in which students engage must be relevant and meaningful to all parties. Reciprocity is key to both sustainable community partnerships and enhanced academic learning in all academic service learning courses.
Purposeful Civil Learning: By engaging in community service as a means of strengthening academic learning, academic service-learning courses prepare students for active civic participation in a diverse democratic society. These courses foster a vision of higher education in which critical thinking about citizenship, democracy and civic life complement career objectives and strengthen disciplinary understandings in public contexts.