University of Vermont

Office of Community-University Partnerships & Service Learning

FY 16 SL Highlights

In 2016 there were:

  • A record 99 service-learning courses, reaching over 2,500 undergraduates - or 17.8% of the student body.
  • 25 NEW service-learning courses, many taught by recent Service-Learning Fellows in CUPS.
  • 8 new Faculty Fellows for Service-Learning.
  • 15 workshops for students on "transferable skills" gained in service-learning courses.
  • 9 awards for Outstanding Service-Learning given to UVM faculty, students and community partners at UVM and state-wide.
  • 10 service-learning courses profiled by University Communications.

Active SL Faculty at UVM

Service-Learning at UVM

Service-learning has a distinguished history at the University of Vermont. Home and alma mater of John Dewey, the famous progressive educator, Burlington and UVM have long valued engagement in community and experiential education as key foundations for citizenship. Dewey saw education as the process of actively connecting experience to knowledge through engagement in and reflection on the world outside the classroom (Noddings, 1998). Combining this view of education with the land-grant mission's commitment to Vermont, UVM opened the first named service-learning center in the country in 1970.

Today, community engagement continues throughout the institution, and the academic service-learning program remains strong. Compared to peer institutions, UVM offers more service-learning courses and enrolls a higher percentage of its student body. National data about the benefits of service-learning are confirmed here, where students report higher levels of academic challenge, greater interaction with a faculty member, and higher levels of critical thinking and real world problem-solving coming out of their SL courses (UVM NSSE 2014 data). The CUPS office facilitates these courses with programs for faculty, students and community partners.

Some highlights from the most recent academic year are in the right-hand sidebar; more information can be found by reading the service-learning reports below.

CUPS Reports

Special Report: Service-Learning & Community Engagement at UVM

FY '15 CUPS Annual Report

CUPS 10th Anniversary Report, 2003-2013

Community-Based Research at UVM

Recent Stories of Service-Learning

 Tobey, a fourth-grader at JJ Flynn Elementary School watches birds over the bike path in Burlington, VT, with his UVM mentor and “bird buddy,” Sara Fergus, a UVM sophomore enrolled in Environmental Studies 295, “Birding to Change the World.”


Birding to Change the World

Professor Trish O’Kane’s new course, “Birding to Change the World,” began far from Derway Island in the north end Burlington, where, on an autumn afternoon, her class of UVM students tromps through a floodplain forest with a crew of kids from nearby JJ Flynn Elementary. In 2005, standing inside the soggy remains of her ...

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Madeline Short


A Day in the Dirt

Anna Herman puts her hands down into the dirt and pulls out a large clump of grass. Behind an old motel on Shelburne Road, she and a crew of about twenty UVM students from professor Dan Baker’s project planning course are chopping through the sod, laying out wood-chip paths, selecting pea and carrot seeds, and turning over a ...

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