CSLC Higher Ed Contact:

Cara DiEnno, Associate Director

Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning, University of Denver

Email Cara | 303.871.2158

What Does Service-Learning Look Like in a Higher Ed. Context?

A college course that includes service-learning is based in a reciprocal community partnership that values the community, faculty, and students as co-educators and co-generators of knowledge.

The service performed in the course addresses a real community-identified need.

The service ties back to course objectives and enhances student acquisition of course content.

Critical reflection occurs throughout the course. Critical reflection activities should:

  1. Clearly link the community based experience to the course content and learning objectives,
  2. Be structured in terms of descriptions, expectations, and the criteria for the assignment,
  3. Occur regularly through the semester,
  4. Allow for feedback and assessment by the instructor, and,
  5. Include the opportunity for students to explore, clarify, and alter their personal values.

Why Service-Learning?

Recognized as a high-impact educational practice by the American Association of Colleges & Universities, service-learning tangibly benefits students, faculty, and communities. For example:

  • Service-learning positively impacts student ability to apply academic concepts to the “real world.”
  • Service-learning positively impacts academic outcomes such as complexity of understanding, problem analysis, critical thinking, and cognitive development.
  • Students who participate in service-learning are more likely to graduate.
  • Faculty who use service-learning report both satisfaction with student learning and a commitment to research.
  • Service-learning offers a venue to explore research opportunities.
  • Service-learning increases the potential for interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Higher education institutions and communities report enhanced relations.

At A Glance: What We Know about the Effects of Service-Learning on College Students, Faculty, Institutions and Communities, 2001.