What is Service Learning?
Service learning is the integration of community engagement projects with student learning to provide real-world experiences that foster cultural and classroom understanding, critical thinking, and civic responsibility.
Service learning meets the needs of adult learners by offering authentic, student-directed learning experiences as a form of experiential education that enhances the curriculum by extending learning beyond the classroom and allowing students to apply what they've learned.
Reference: Seifer, S. D., and Connors, K., Eds. Community Campus Partnerships for Health. Faculty Toolkit for Service-Learning in Higher Education. Scotts Valley, CA: National Service-Learning Clearinghouse, 2007.
Service Learning at Wake Tech
Faculty members approve service-learning opportunities that align with at least one student learning outcome for a course and assign a reflection activity.
Students commit to completing 10 hours of community service outside class followed by a reflection assignment determined by the instructor. Upon completion, they receive a transcript designation indicating that they met service-learning requirements for that semester.
Community partners receive valuable assistance from students and benefit from collaboration with Wake Tech. A service project on campus strengthens our Wake Tech community (in this case the “community partner” is a group within Wake Tech).
For all required online forms and detailed steps to follow, log in to Wake Tech XTRA (using your Wake Tech login and password) and choose “Service Learning”.
All Wake Tech students who are in academic good standing are eligible to participate in service-learning opportunities, provided their courses offer that option and they meet pre-service requirements, if applicable. Students can check their course syllabus or contact their instructor to find out if a course offers service-learning opportunities and if not, students can request this option. Program coordinators are happy to help.
MISSION OF THE SERVICE-LEARNING PROGRAM
The Service-Learning Program supports Wake Tech’s mission by offering students opportunities to learn and apply skills in real-world settings while establishing lasting partnerships in their communities.
The program promotes Wake Tech’s core values by fostering a sense of accountability to the community, respect for those served, and responsibility for using knowledge to help others; and by encouraging critical thinking about one’s life experiences, communication with others about shared goals, and collaboration to identify and address common problems.
(the following can be added to course syllabi by faculty who offer the SL option)
Service-learning projects at Wake Tech will:
- Contribute to one or more of the student learning outcomes established for the course;
- Require students to perform substantive service to a group in their local communities;
- Instill or reinforce a sense of commitment to community;
- Encourage students to reflect on their own roles in addressing community needs and how they relate to classroom content; and
- Help students recognize the connection between learning and service.
BENEFITS OF PARTICIPATION
Faculty can benefit personally and professionally from integrating service learning into courses. Teaching with service-learning can:
- Encourage interactive teaching methods and reciprocal learning between students and faculty;
- Promote active learning and engage students with different learning styles;
- Help students achieve core competencies and student learning outcomes for the course;
- Develop students' civic and leadership skills;
- Attract highly-motivated and engaged students;
- Add new insights and dimensions to class discussions;
- Provide networking opportunities among faculty in different disciplines;
- Foster relationships between faculty and community organizations, opening other opportunities for collaborative work; and
- Provide firsthand knowledge of community issues and opportunities to be more involved.
Students in service-learning classes can benefit academically, professionally, and personally, as follows:
- Increase understanding of subject;
- Gain hands-on experience, with potential for future internships or employment;
- Gain a Service-Learning distinction to add to the resume (and official notation on college transcript, to help stand out on transfer applications);
- Develop and enhance skills in communication, collaboration, and leadership, among others;
- Explore or cement values and beliefs;
- Have opportunities to act on values and beliefs;
- Develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills;
- Grow understanding of diverse cultures and communities;
- Learn more about social issues and their root causes;
- Improve ability to handle ambiguity and be open to change – become more flexible;
- Apply skills, interests, and values to potential career pathways, or learn more about certain fields;
- Connect with professionals and community members to learn from them;
- Build a professional network for future internship and employment opportunities;
Community Partners in service-learning can benefit by:
- Gaining additional human resources for reaching organizational goals;
- Utilizing the skills of educated college volunteers;
- Injecting new energy, enthusiasm, and perspectives into the organization;
- Expanding the volunteer pool;
- Increasing public awareness of key issues;
- Reaching out to youth (an important part of any organization’s future support);
- Educating students/youth about community issues and correcting any misperceptions;
- Helping to prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s civic leaders;
- Networking with colleagues in other organizations and agencies;
- Identifying and accessing faculty, students, and staff.
If you are a student or faculty member interested in doing service-learning, please contact a Service-Learning Coordinator