University College

Community Engagement Center

Information for Faculty & Staff

Service-learning is a teaching method that utilizes student involvement in community service to meet instructional objectives of a course. Students apply information from a class to authentic settings while addressing real needs in the community. In addition to relating theory to practice, this service enhances their sense of citizenry in a democratic society. Furthermore, service-learning supports and fulfills SUU's institutional mission, vision, and core values.

Service-Learning experiences:

  1. Relate to course subject matter.
  2. Provide a needed service to individuals, organizations, schools or other entities in the community.
  3. Provide a method or methods for students to reflect about what they learned through the service experience and how these learnings relate to the subject of the course. Credit is earned for the learning and its relation to the course, not for the service alone.
  4. Recognize the needs of the service recipients and provide an opportunity for recipients to be involved in the evaluation of the service.
  5. Aim at the development of the civic education of the participants, even though they may also be focused on career or graduate school preparation.

Frequently students and faculty ask about the differences between service learning and other types of experiential education such as practicums and internships. While there is overlap, the primary course objectives differ:

Servie Learnign Table

Service-Learning Course Criteria

Faculty in all disciplines are welcome to submit applications for official "service-learning" classes. Each of the following criteria must be addressed and incorporated into the course syllabus. As of Spring 2010, the Faculty Service-Learning Committee requires that official "SL" courses have a minimum of twenty (20) service hours per student (inclusive of all service-learning related activities) and a service-learning component with a minimum grade or weight of twenty (20) percent. Criteria in determining the "SL" designation include:

  1. Relation of service-learning to course subject matter. (Note: Offer specific examples of appropriate service that students may perform for this course.)
  2. Service-learning components provide a needed service to individuals, organizations, schools or other entities in the community.
  3. Service-learning aims at the development of civic education of the participants, even though they may also be focused on career or graduate school preparation.
  4. Course requirements and syllabus provide a method or methods for students to reflect about what they learned through the service experience and how these relate to the subject of the course. Credit is earned for the learning and its relation to the course, not for the service alone.
  5. Projects recognize the needs of the service recipients and provide an opportunity for recipients to be involved in the evaluation of the service.
  6. Course options ensure that no student is required to participate in a service placement that creates a religious, political, and/or moral conflict for the student.

Submission Process and Deadlines:

  1. Download, complete, save, and submit the Service-Learning Course Designation Application (available online).
  2. Include an electronic version of a course syllabus that incorporates and addresses all service-learning criteria listed above.
  3. Submit a letter of support from department chair or program director (and any cross-listed department chair(s) or program director(s)) that identifies when the course will be offered and the instructor (if known).
  4. Proposals must be submitted to the SUU Service-Learning Committee in a timely manner for inclusion in the official schedule and catalog. In general, applications must be submitted one semester in advance of the course offering for it to be considered for official designation as an "SL" course.
  5. Send electronic versions of the completed application, syllabus, and letter(s) of support to Earl Mulderink, mulderink@suu.edu

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