Service Learning

Service learning is a beneficial way to enrich your classes at the university, advance your career, network with professionals, and make an impact in your community. Service learning combines learning goals in a course and service in the community to enhance student growth and common good.

As part of the service learning process, you investigate an issue through analysis. During your course you acquire content knowledge to raise questions about the issue. During the service time you spend outside of the classroom and in the community, you take action to provide service to a community organization addressing a specific need. After the service is provided, you reflect on the questions you have raised and the experiences that followed. Finally, you demonstrate knowledge gained through your service experience and reflection, sharing it with a public audience!

Service Learning may be defined as:

A thoughtfully organized service experience that addresses a need in the community in a reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationship and integrates a reflective component that relates the service experience to academic course objectives and the student’s learning. (service = learning)

Service Learning is sometimes confused for volunteer work. Volunteering focuses more on service than learning. Similarly, service learning is also confused with internships. Internships place emphasis more on the learning than service. Service Learning specifically places emphasis on both service and learning.

  • Volunteerism (service > learning): The performance of formal service to benefit others or one’s community without receiving any external rewards; such programs may or may not involve structured training and reflection. (Source: National Service Learning Clearinghouse 
  • Internships (service < learning): A structured experiential learning opportunity monitored by a practicing professional with learning outcomes related to a student’s academic background and/or career goals. (Source: UTRGV) 

Service learning is a rewarding opportunity to deepen your knowledge, expand your skillset, and make a positive difference. Sign up for a SL course today!