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Faculty Development: Service Learning

Source for your MSU Faculty Development Needs

Service Learning



What is service-learning?

  • According to the Murray State University Academic Bulletin , "service learning uses experiential learning techniques to combine community service with specific learning objectives in a course" (2017-18, p. 51-52). Through service learning students perform meaningful service to the community while engaging in a study that is related to that service.
    • Philosophically, service learning reflects the belief that education should be connected to values, character, and social responsibility.
    • Students learn and develop through active participation in carefully organized service experiences that meet actual community needs and that are coordinated in collaboration with the school and the community.
    • The instructional method is integrated into the academic curriculum and provides time for students to reflect on their activities through small group discussions, class activities, and journal writing.
    • Students have opportunities to use newly acquired knowledge and skills in actual community situations.
    • The lessons taught in the classroom and extended into the communities help students develop a sense of caring and responsibility for others (National Community Service Act, 1990). 

What is the difference between service-learning and community service?

  • Community engagement pedagogies, often called “service learning,” are ones that combine learning goals and community service in ways that can enhance both student growth and the common good.  In the words of the National Service Learning Clearinghouse, it is “a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.” ( )
  • Community service is voluntary or involuntary work that is intended to help people.  
  • The main difference, between the two, is the classroom learning and reflection upon the course materials and the hands-on training that is built into service-learning course.

Are there benefits to service-learning? Please watch the following video to learn of the benefits for all involved.

How can  you provide service learning opportunities for your students?

Service Learning Activities: University Of Central Arkansas has a great listing of examples for service-learning projects. This listing would be helpful when you begin exploring service-learning.   

Check out their website!

How do you apply for service-learning designation?

By now, you may be interested in applying for the service-learning designation for your course.  If you are, the following link will give you more information about the application process:

Do you have any further questions about service-learning:

  • Regarding your course
  • Your community 
  • Benefits for you and your students 

Would you like to apply for service-learning designation for your course or meet with the Service Learning Coordinator?