What is Service-Learning?
Barbara Jacoby defines service-learning as "a form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities intentionally designed to promote student learning and development. Reflection and reciprocity are key concepts of service-learning."
In addition to this definition, we also recognize the National Society for Experiential Education's Eight Principles of Good Practice for Experiential Learning Activities:
- Preparedness and Planning
- Orientation and Training
- Monitoring and Continuous Improvement
- Assessment and Evaluation
Service-Learning at CSB/SJU
Service-Learning is located in the office of Experiential and Professional Development (XPD). The XPD Office supports programs that empower CSB/SJU students to apply knowledge and theory gained in the classroom setting to a hands on learning environment, such that a deeper understanding is gained and demonstrated through clear learning outcomes.
- Students must complete a minimum of 20 hours of service throughout the semester
- Partnerships between students and community must be mutually beneficial and contribute to the greater good of the community
Partnering with a Course
Service-Learning strives to create intentional, mutually beneficial partnerships for students, faculty, and community partners. To do this, we partner organizations with courses teaching corresponding skills. For example, Elementary Education majors often tutor at a local elementary school; where students serve goes hand in hand with their curriculum. To partner with a course, partners should submit a position description to the Service-Learning Coordinator. For more information about what to include in a position description, see the resources tab.
Once a partnership is identified as being beneficial for all involved, the partner organization will be invited to the Service-Learning Fair. This fair occurs at CSB at the start of every semester and gives students the opportunity to connect with the partners with whom they have the opportunity to work. Partners should make every effort to have a representative available at this fair.
Students are notified the evening of the fair with which organization they are partnered. It is the student's responsibility to contact the partner at this point to begin the process of setting up an orientation and schedule.
Expectations for Partners
- We ask that partners make every effort to attend and participate in the service-learning fair at the start of each semester. Partners who are unable to do this should speak with the service-learning coordinator about other options.
- Partner organizations must provide an orientation for all service-learning students. This orientation should include expectations of the organization, procedures for communication and scheduling and logistical information about the organization and its physical space.
- Partners should assist students with necessary paperwork, application materials and background checks. All background checks and liability forms are the responsibility of the organizations.
- Supervisors should provide regular feedback and mentoring to service-learning students throughout the experience. While students can work independently at times, a supervisors should be accessible if necessary.
- Any concerns regarding student conduct or behavior should be shared with the Service-Learning program. While community partners are never obligated to work with a student, we ask that steps are taken to provide appropriate guidance and feedback when conflict occurs.
- Partners should enact a system for tracking student volunteer hours. The Service-Learning program will contact partners once per month to conform student hours. Any discrepancies should be shared with the program.
- At the end of the semester, partners will be sent an electronic evaluation for each service-learning student. This evaluation should be completed by the requested deadline.