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Service Learning and Community Engagement: For Faculty

This research guide provides resources and tools for service learning and community engagement.


Benefits of embedding service-learning to your courses

FACULTY can benefit personally and professionally from integrating service-learning into courses. Teaching with service-learning can:

  • Encourage interactive teaching methods and reciprocal learning between students and faculty
  • Add new insights and dimensions to class discussions
  • Lead to new avenues for research and publication
  • Promote students' active learning; engage students with different learning styles
  • Develop students' civic and leadership skills
  • Provide networking opportunities with engaged faculty in other disciplines
  • Provide firsthand knowledge of community issues; provide opportunities to be more involved in the communities they live.
    Adapted from UMass Amherst

More on this topic:

AACU Social Innovation & Civic Engagement

Campus Compact Resources

Community Engaged Teaching Step by Step

Best Practices in Community-Engaged Teaching

Teaching Through Community Engagement

Challenges & Opportunities of Community Engaged Teaching

Best practices

  • The two primary aims of service-learning should be to offer an intellectually rich educational experience for students and to address a significant community need.
  • The service-learning project should be well-integrated into the course content so that students clearly see the relationship between the project and the academic goals of the course. They should also be able to understand why the experience has intellectual value. 
  • Adequate in-class time should be allocated for the students to share, discuss, and analyze their service-learning experiences with other students in the class and with their professor. 
  • The time commitment for the completing the service-learning project and students' reflection on it should be flexible, appropriate, and in the best interest of everyone involves students, faculty, and community partner. 
  • Faculty should recognize that creating a viable service-learning project with a community partner takes time, commitment, and an understanding of the partner's point of view and needs.
  • The community partner, not the faculty member, should identify what the community partner needs and the goals to which it aspires. 
  • Collaborations between faculty and community partners are key to creating a service learning project that is both intellectually rich and provides a real service to the community.
  • Final results of the service-learning project should be shared by the student with the community partner. 

Adapted from UMass Amherst 


Reflection and Service Learning

Reflection is an important part of service learning and students may need support in crafting a well-thought service learning. 



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