This archived article was written by: Christine Olsen
You have probably heard of it, but what exactly is it? Service-Learning has many layers and can be complicated but hopefully this will clarify some of the main issues. Service Learning is defined as “a method of teaching that enriches learning by engaging students in meaningful service to their schools and their communities through careful integration with established curricula. Lessons gained from hands-on service heighten interest and enhance academic achievement, citizenship and character development” reports Utah Campus Compact.
Basically Service Learning is applying what is learned in classrooms to real-life experiences that benefit the student and community. For example, picking up trash on a riverbank is service. Sitting in a classroom looking at water samples under a microscope is learning. Going to the river, taking water samples and reporting the results to the community is Service-Learning because it’s taking the classroom lessons and applying them in a real situation.
Forty seven classes at CEU are designated as Service-Learning courses. In the catalog they are marked with a (SL) symbol. This means that the particular class will have some type of Service-learning component. Service-learning courses cover a broad range of classes from introduction to writing to software engineering.
Now these Service-learning classes are not to be confused with the class Service-learning. This is a recreation class taught by Kathy Murray in which students do service for credit hours. Students can earn one credit hour for 18 hours of service, two credit hours for 36 hours of service, or three credit hours for 54 hours of service.
Another component of Service-Learning is the Service-Learning Scholars Program. If a student takes six credit hours of Service Learning courses and completes 200 hours of service while a student, they can graduate with Service-Learning honors. The student will receive cords to wear at graduation and a certificate of completion. Since every other public higher education institution in Utah has a Service-Learning program, this honor is completely transferable to any of them. This honor is also put on the student’s official transcripts and looks great on applications for employment, admission to other schools, and scholarships applications.
So what are the benefits of Service-Learning to students? Service-Learning courses provide hands-on experience that cannot be gained through the traditional classroom. Students who have taken Service Learning courses can say that they have had experience outside the classroom in their particular field. Also Service-Learning is another method of learning for students because lectures, reading and assignments are not effective ways to learn for every student. Due to the fact that Service Learning gives students experience in their field it is impressive on applications and resumes as well. It gives students the upper hand that others might not have.
As you can see Sevvice-Learning is very complicated but teh SUN Center is here to help students and faculty alike. Contact them at 613-5624.