Faculty and Instructors

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."

Service-Learning at CSB/SJU

Service-Learning is one program located in the office of Experience and Professional Development  (XPD). The Office of Experiential and Professional Development supports programs that empower CSB/SJU students to integrate and 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.

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 20 hours of service throughout the semester
  2. Additional learning goals and objectives should be outlined by the faculty member that connect service-learning to course content
  3. At least one piece of written reflection must be required of all students participating
  4. Service-Learning should be integrated into classroom learning through discussion, content, activities, etc. It should not be added as an additional "add on" component in a course.
Optional vs Required Service-Learning

Faculty may choose to integrate service-learning as either an optional or a required component of their course. There are challenges and benefits to both of these options:

Required: Requiring service-learning ensures that all students participate. Often, students who are hesitant or challenged by a service-learning experience benefit the most and are pushed out of their comfort zone where the greatest learning can occur. It also provides a common intellectual experience for the entire class and can work well for courses utilizing project-based service-learning.

Optional: Optional Service-Learning requires students to "opt in" to the experience. This buy-in can mean that students are more invested in their experience and are not completing required service.  


Reflection is a critical component of the service-learning process. Reflection is essentially the "learning" in service-learning. The curriculum committee requires at least one written reflection component as a part of service-learning courses. Written reflections can include:

  • Reflection journals
  • Reflection posts submitted to the service-learning program
  • Reflection Papers
  • Reflection/Research combination papers

The Service-Learning program also encourages faculty to incorporate other forms of reflection into courses content these can include:

  • Regular classroom check-ins, dialogue, and prompt questions regarding service-learning
  • Art or creative works
  • Reflection sessions
  • The Service-Learning program is happy to assist with the design and facilitation of in-class reflection sessions
  • Reflection sessions may include small and large group sharing, active work such as simulations and activities, guided journaling, etc

The Service-Learning program strives to provide adequate assessment for faculty and instructors as well as for our program as a whole. Best practice in assessing service-learning asks that grading be based on the quality of the students' reflection as opposed to their actual service work. With this in mind, we also expect that students meet the minimum requirements set out for them and value the feedback of our community partners.

The Service-Learning program sends an electronic evaluation form to all community partners approximately two weeks before the end of the semester. This evaluation is shared with students as well as faculty/staff as a constructive learning tool.

In addition to the community partner evaluation, the Service-Learning Program also sends an electronic evaluation to all students participating in service-learning to provide general feedback on their experience to help us better develop our program.

Read through more in-depth descriptions.