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Ronald Porter
Acting Director of Service Learning

Eckerd College
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711

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toll-free: (800) 456-9009
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Service Learning

Service Learning

Reflective Service-Learning in General Education

Overview

Academic service-learning is any carefully monitored service experience in which a student has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what he or she is learning throughout the experience. Service-learning programs emphasize the accomplishment of tasks that address community or global issues and include features which foster participants’ learning about larger social issues and an understanding of the reciprocal learning and service which can occur between students and community members. Service-learning is an increasingly legitimized pedagogy and research method.

Service-learning can often be added to a course through the request of a student and agreement by a professor.

Academic service-learning helps students become involved in the course material and helps one apply theory. With service-learning, students become collaborative learners with the professor. If you would like to discuss ways of integrating service-learning into your classes, drop by the Service Learning office.

Different Types of Service-Learning

Curricular service-learning can assume a number of forms. In every case, such models link community service and critical analysis in the context of credit-bearing coursework.

  • A relevant community service experience may be integrated into a discipline offering or a general education course as a required component. "Quest for Meaning" and "Options for the Future" are examples.
  • A two-track syllabus may be offered which affords each student the opportunity to choose either a traditional track within which the student completes conventional assignments for the course, or a service-learning track which allows the student to complete a specified number of service hours and appropriate reflective assignments in place of one or more conventional assignments.
  • Service-learning courses may be developed, including service-learning practica, service-oriented internships, service and leadership courses, introductory service-learning courses, and international service-learning experiences.

Integrating Service-Learning into the Classroom

Faculty members are encouraged to check out http://www.compact.org/syllabi/ for great ideas as to how you can integrate service activities into your courses, complete with hundreds of sample syllabi. You'll see that no matter what discipline, there are a wealth of opportunities to enrich and deepen student learning through community service. For more ideas, feel free to contact us.

Brian MacHarg in the Service-Learning Office and Norm Smith in the Center for the Applied Liberal Arts are available as resources for you in developing service-learning programs for your students and would be happy to assist you as you consider one or more of these options. Brian has maintained a large bank of service sites in the Tampa Bay area and would be happy to meet with your students to discuss potential placements. If we can furnish additional information to you on curricular and co-curricular service-learning, or if you would like a presentation to your classes on service-learning, please let us know.

Notes from the Field

Servant Leaders blog
Service-Learning Interns blog
The service-learning student interns are increasing service involvement at Eckerd, becoming successful service leaders and helping students create a community around the values and challenges of servant-leadership.

Service Learning Profiles

Alumni Profiles

Read individual profiles of how involvement with Eckerd Service Learning changed the lives of current students and alumni.  Learn more.