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Service Learning and Community Engagement

Use this guide to find UNO library resources and other helpful tools for information about Service Learning and Community Engagement.

What is Service Learning?

Service Learning:

  • is a method of teaching and learning, a pedagogy that enriches academic experiences and life-long learning by engaging students in meaningful hands-on service in the community
  • allows students to apply what they are learning in class in the community and learn while they are serving
  • meets community-identified needs
  • enhances students understanding of the course learning goals
  • focuses equally on learning and service
  • benefits both the student and the service recipient
  • helps build partnerships between colleges and community-based organizations

Service Learning is not . . .

  • internships, clinicals, or field studies which focus on learning rather than service
  • free or convenient labor
  • work for pay
  • an "add-on"
  • a stand-alone, one-time project that does not relate to the course learning goals

Key Components of Service Learning

Connecting Service with Learning: Academically rigorous, meaningful service with a significant positive impact upon those involved

Reflection: Assessment of personal and community needs, reflection on participation, and evaluation of progress

Reciprocity: Both the student and community partner give and receive time, energy, knowledge, and creativity

Critical Thinking: Involvement in situations conducive to creative, effective problem-solving

Social Responsibility: Expansion of student's compassion, civic awareness, and desire to be engaged in the community

Experiential Learning: Use of direct experience and hands-on learning to develop skills useful in future careers, family life, and community involvement

Needs-Based: Project based on community-identified needs