What is Service-Learning?
Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with central course themes in ways that promote reflection, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Courses that promote service-learning combine the process of gaining knowledge with direct involvement in community-based projects, usually centered on social justice. Through this intentional integration of university learning environments with community-based initiatives, service-learning shapes both students and communities in a variety of contexts. For example, a course on Violence Against Women might build into its curriculum students' direct participation in settings such as domestic violence shelters, legal support organizations, or rape crisis centers. Additionally, service-learning can contribute to a broader global community; for example, a course on global women's issues, such as gender rights, could integrate overseas travel into its curriculum. By engaging in service-learning at either the local or global level, students are able to greatly expand their academic inquiry, providing new ways of understanding and a journey of discovery not found in a traditional setting. At the same time communities and organizations benefit from the students' skills and contributions that ultimately helps to broaden our global community.