Service Learning

SL Definition and Key Components

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Service Learning Definition:

"credit-bearing educational experience in which students (a) participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs, and (b) reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of curricular content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of personal values and civic responsibility " (Bringle and Hatcher, 1995).  

 Key Components in Service Learning Course

The SLAC reviewed several models to determine key components for success in university-based service learning.  While we acknowledge that service learning models will vary by discipline, we recommend that every NIU service learning course do the following:

  • Provide meaningful engagement with the community
  • Make connections between  civic learning and course material
  • Require a minimum of 20 service hours per course
  • Integrate service activities into the course with care
  • Understand and use reflection activities as rigorous teaching and learning strategy