Service-learning engages all learners. It helps students structure and act on knowledge. With service-learning, the faculty role in the classroom is expanded from a provider of knowledge to a facilitator of critical synthesis and learning. As educational leaders at an institution of research and higher education, service-learning practices allow faculty to enhance and augment the learning and instructing accomplished within the classroom on a real-life, practical level. Students are attracted to courses that allow for the application of learned material in unique and realistic settings.
Service-learning provides the opportunity to develop and create lasting partnerships with community agencies, organizations, and professionals that are able to supplement class discussion and subject matter on a yearly basis. As these partnerships are developed and nurtured, faculty members have a direct route to impact the local community and the greater world via higher education. In addition, service-learning allows faculty to identify new areas for research and publication, thus increasing opportunities for professional recognition and reward.
Many professional academic associations now include sessions on service-learning and civic engagement at national and regional conferences. Associations such as Campus Compact, South Carolina Campus Compact, National Society for Experiential Education, and the American Association of Higher Education hold annual conferences and provide opportunities to present papers on service-learning and the scholarship of engagement. Additionally, special issues of professional journals now feature service-learning as a topic of inquiry. Involvement in service-learning can augment and redirect one’s professional research interests, especially when a strong partnership is created with the community agency.
The Office of Student Engagement offers feedback on course design and implementation. If you would to talk with a service-learning professional, please contact the Office of Student Engagement at firstname.lastname@example.org.