Service-Learning for Community Partners
Academic service-learning is the connection of concepts in the classroom to service experiences in the community. Service-learning encourages students to begin or to continue service in preparation for a lifetime of civic engagement and leadership. In addition, service-learning is an important learning tool. Through service, students have the opportunity to apply the concepts, theories and other material that covered in class. The community becomes a text for the class, and is as critical to “read” as other textbooks. Questions? Contact Elizabeth O'Brien.
Types of Academic Service-Learning
Printable eServe instructions
Community partners are an essential component of the service-learning experience. The Center has developed a series of guidelines to assist you with crafting an effective experience for your students.
The following guidelines have been useful in helping to ensure a positive experience for students and community agencies. Please review them as they are an important component of the Seattle University academic service-learning program.
Provide a structured experience.
It is important to provide focused projects with visible outcomes in order to keep students on track, interested, and motivated. A mutually agreed upon schedule of regular hours and/or meeting times will help provide structure. Academic service-learning positions must be designed to fit within the 10 week academic quarter. Additionally, the required hours for service vary from class to class.
Provide a supervisor to guide and evaluate the student.
Students will need to receive an orientation as well as any additional training your agency may feel is necessary. The orientation should familiarize the students with the mission of the organization, the space, the people, and safety issues related to the position. This orientation is the students' first substantive contact with your organization and will set the tone for the academic service-learning experience.
Respond to student questions and concerns.
Students face numerous challenges related to the quarter system and need to get started with their placement as soon as possible. Responding to students' inquiries will help alleviate problems for students getting started. Please notify the Center for Service and Community Engagement with any concerns or changes as they arise.
Use eServe to assist with tracking service-learning students.
At the beginning of the quarter, please login to eServe using the username and password provided to you by Center staff. If you do not have a username and password, please contact Elizabeth O'Brien at 206.398.4626. Next, approve all students in your queue that you are familiar with by clicking on “Approve”. Throughout the quarter, you will be asked to track and approve the hours your student(s) have served, but this information is especially needed by the end of the quarter. Tracking can be done in many ways, but having a sign-in sheet for students has been a helpful tool to refer to at the end of the quarter when evaluations are due. Finally, please submit an evaluation for each student at the end of the quarter including each students’ final hours count. Verification of service hours completed and the feedback offered through the evaluation are vital to the student’s success in their service-learning course.
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Types of Academic Service-Learning
Students choose a local agency from a list of opportunities approved by their professors to perform course-related service for a pre-determined number of hours during the course of the quarter. An example of a placement-based service-learning course is:
CISS 120: Poverty in America. This introductory level course combines formal academic study on the topic of poverty and in the United States with a 15 to 20 hour service experience at an agency that addresses issues of poverty. Through these community placements, students typically work at homeless shelters, schools, small non-profits and other direct service organizations. Professors ask students to draw upon their service experiences as an additional “text” through discussions and written assignments.
Usually in groups, students address a community problem identified by the professor, a community agency or students themselves. Students draw upon previous knowledge and their work on the project to make recommendations regarding solutions to the problem. An example of a project-based service-learning course is:
FINC 343: Financial Institutions and Markets. Using knowledge gained from present and prior coursework, students in this advance level course act as “consultants” for the City of Seattle’s Economic Development Division. In small teams, students identify and survey immigrant business owners in Seattle. Subsequently, students develop a report and recommendations for how the Economic Development Division might support the growth and expansion of these important business efforts.
Students develop research skills by working on questions developed by community organizations. Students may develop surveys, conduct informal studies and interviews or analyze data provided by community organizations. Through these applied research projects students develop the ability to connect the research theories and analytical skills they learn in the classroom to real community issues and needs. An example of a research-based service-learning course is
PSYC 303 and 305: Statistics and Research Methods I and II. Students develop their skills in statistical analysis and research design by working on basic research questions that are provided by local community organizations. The students analyze data provided by the organizations and craft final reports on their findings.
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How can I connect with a Service-Learning course?
The Center for Service is looking to continue to build strong relationships with community agencies through our service-learning courses. The Center can assist with service-learning placements by placing students at your agency to provide service as a part of their course requirement. If you are interested in working with a service-learning course, email Elizabeth O'Brien, Service-Learning Coordinator, or call 206.398.4626.
What other community agencies does the Center for Service and Community Engagement work with?
The Center works with over 50 local community agencies. Click here to view a list of our current service-learning partners.
Whom should I contact if I would like to get more information about collaborating with the Center for Service and Community Engagement?
If you would like more information about ways to get involved with the Center for Service and Community Engagement, please fill out our online form to provide more details about your interest in partnership.
I am not interested in service-learning. I am trying to:
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