As recognized by the Carnegie Foundation, NIU is a “community engaged” institution. A number of departments and majors already have a strong service learning presence and deserve to be recognized for engaging their students in the community. We strongly encourage others to consider a service learning program for their courses. This initiative works to implement “Goal 3.1.7: Create a formal Service Learning Program” from the Presidential Task Force on Curricular Innovation (PDF).
Students who participate in service learning create positive changes in the classroom and the community. This type of progressive education gives students a sense of empowerment and a better understanding of issues in diversity and civic responsibility.
Key Components in Service Learning Course
The Service Learning Advisory Committee (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 strategies
For more information about Service Learning, contact Dr. Nancy Castle at firstname.lastname@example.org.