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About Service Learning

What is Service Learning?

"A method under which students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that meet actual community needs, that are integrated into the students’ academic curriculum, and that foster civic engagement and personal development through structured reflection. It enhances what is taught in class by extending student learning into the community.” - Adopted from the American Association for Higher Education Series

How is Service Learning Incorporated at Walsh?

All Walsh students have the opportunity to participate in a service learning course as part of their general education curriculum. Since 2005, Walsh University has aligned student learning with the mission of service to the community by offering high quality academic experiences that partner students with organizations in Northeast Ohio.

Benefits

Students

Service learning is a form of experiential education that deepens learning. Service learning can benefit all participants, students, faculty, academic institutions, and their communities (Bransford, et al., 2000:16). Student benefits of service learning include enhanced opportunities for learning, as well as personal and social skill development. With service learning, students have increased knowledge of academic materials, their communities, and themselves.

Faculty and the University

Faculty can enhance the quality of their teaching and find opportunities for research and outlets for professional expertise through service learning. Service learning supports the civic engagement mission of colleges and universities and improves relationships with the local community.

Community

Community members receive service hours and institutional support, as well as opportunities to research community problems they might otherwise not have the resources to undertake.

Distinctions Among Service Programs
Service learning provides students with academic content, civic learning, and personal growth.

How is Service Learning Different from Other Experiential Learning? 

  • Service learning is not the same as community service — rather, it is the application of academic theory to community involvement, and vice-versa.
  • Service learning is not a new name for internships because there is an aspect of civic learning often absent in internships but present in service learning.
  • The reflection component of service learning transforms the experience into learning as well as adds a dimension of personal growth to service learning.
  • Ideal service learning seamlessly incorporates and integrates coursework with assignments and service, so the service does not exist as an add-on or separate experience.

 Service learning provides students with academic content, civic learning, and personal growth.

Service learning provides students with academic content, civic learning, and personal growth.