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Service Learning

Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that provides students with the opportunity to practice, perform, and observe the theories and practical applications of academic course content through service in the community.  The service learning experience is processed through structured and on-going reflection through a mix of writing, reading, speaking, and listening, individually and in groups.  Service learning is most effective when there is a sustained commitment throughout the semester and when the service experience addresses community-identified needs.

What service learning is not: 

Service learning is sometimes confused with volunteering or community service, however they differ in important ways. Service learning is designed to simultaneously meet course-specific educational goals and community-identified needs, in contrast to community service which tends to focus more on the latter. 

Service learning is not a stand-alone activity or an “add-on” to a course; its goals are inextricably connected to course content and are intended to bring subject matter to life in ways that are difficult to achieve inside of the classroom. 

Service learning is also confused at times with other forms of community service, such as internships and practicum assignments. While all may involve service, service learning differs in that its focus is not on building skills for the purpose of developing professional skills or training for a particular career. 

How is service learning distinct from other types of community-based learning? 

The service learning program at La Salle supports the Service Learning Advisory Board, vets service learning courses, sponsors reading cohorts, creates and sustains community partnerships, coordinates the  Student Accompaniment In Learning (SAIL) position, and organizes complementary programming.  

Resources for Faculty Considering Service Learning 

Spring 2021 Service Learning Courses: 

  • Communication 407: Public Relations Management (Smith)
  • Communication Sciences and Disorders 203-21: Language Development (Bitetti)
  • Leadership & Global Understanding 400: Leadership & Global Understanding Capstone (Carr-Lemke)
  • Marketing 401-21: Marketing Research (Pierce)
  • Social Work 160: Introduction to Social Work (All instructors) 

Fall 2020 Service Learning Courses: 

  • Leadership & Global Understanding 200: Introduction to Leadership & Global Understanding (Carr-Lemke)
  • Social Work 160: Introduction to Social Work (All instructors)