What is academic service-learning?
Service-learning is a documented high-impact practice (Kuh 2008) that has consistent, significant effects on student learning, engagement, retention and success.
In academic service-learning, students work with community partners within credit-bearing courses, so that students apply the skills of their disciplines to real-world problems to both deepen their learning and benefit community partners.
Service-learning can be:
- Direct: with a client population off campus, e.g. tutoring, coaching, mentoring, taking crisis calls, counseling
- Indirect: off campus but non-contact, e.g. sorting items at a food bank, creating a library, removing invasive species
- Consultant model: providing specific services or deliverables, e.g. creating a website or business plan, writing a grant proposal, developing policy briefs
- Community-based research: a collaborative research partnership that engages community agents and organizations in research projects that address community-identified issues
Research on the high-impact practices is available on the AAC&U website. For more details on service-learning's impact on students at UVM, see this CUPS report.