Benefits of Service-Learning

Research suggests that the integration of service into academic learning may increase student acquisition of subject knowledge. However, not all service-learning experiences result in the same cognitive outcomes; the greater the degree of academic integration and the more continuous the students' reflections are on the experience, the stronger the positive effects of service-learning are on outcomes such as reflective judgment and the "use of complex and multiple perspectives in identifying the causes of and formulating the solutions to specific social problems" (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005, p. 193). Without the purposeful integration of service into the academic component, little cognitive development gains are achieved. Students themselves also recognize increased cognitive skills through the service-learning experiences (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005).

The following is a list of the services that Community Service-Learning (CS-L) can provide to professors interested in developing a service learning-based course.

Service-Learning Course Development and Consultation

CS-L staff members will help you develop a course that will match learning objectives with community agency needs to increase student acquisition of subject knowledge and promote community engagement

Support of Service-Learning Course

CS-L will help you identify community agencies to partner with you for service-learning courses.

Classroom Visits

CS-L staff will come to your class during the first two weeks of the semester to place students in community service agencies. You must sign up for these visits before the semester begins. To request a classroom presentation please contact or (540-568-6366).

Record of Service Form

You can use this form to submit a record of all the hours your students have volunteered as a part of your class at the end of the semester.

Traditional Classroom Placements

This is the most frequent type of student placement, matching each student with individual agencies. For this service, CS-L comes to your classroom to facilitate a service-learning overview and coordinates service placements with your students in one of over 75 local agencies CS-L partners with. CS-L Service Coordinators and Professional staff walk faculty through the step-by-step process of placing students in the community as part of the classroom requirements. CS-L has developed strong partnerships with faculty and community agencies to offer supportive and productive experiential opportunities for students, and much-needed assistance for the non-profit sector.

Customized Classroom Placements

This approach more intentionally focuses the service-learning course objectives with the needs and services of select community agencies. This approach places groups of students from your class in selected agencies. Students and agencies report greater mutual benefits and learning by this more customized approach. This customized approach is also more environmentally conscious as students are better able to carpool to agency sites. Because of the additional time required to create these customized placements, faculty must contact CS-L at least one semester in advance to create this placement option. Only in rare instances are customized placements done in the same semester with new faculty (regardless of their prior service-learning experience) or returning faculty that has not used the customized approach before.

Reflection Services

The heart of Service Learning is reflection. We now offer standardized reflection training to our service coordinators, Alternative Break leaders, and faculty. Our office will meet with faculty by appointment for reflection training and also provide you with the resources needed to improve your reflection skills.

May Faculty Workshop

This training held each year is an excellent opportunity for new faculty to learn from seasoned Service Learning academics ways to embed and enhance course development through service.

For any of the above services, please contact CS-L at or (540-568-6366).

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