Service-learning is a method of teaching and learning where students, faculty, and community partners work together to provide volunteer support to meet the need of a community agency or organization. This service is linked to course objectives through action and critical reflection, better preparing students for their future careers and to become meaningful members of society.
Many of the service-learning programs on the MSU campus have been nationally recognized. Our service-learning courses are taught by faculty from a variety of colleges on campus.
- Download the Service-Learning Handbook. (PDF)
- Find out how to add a service-learning component to your academic class.
Interested in adding a service-learning component to your course? Results from a recent survey of MSU faculty indicate that service-learning is employed in a variety of academic disciplines, including: Mathematics, Engineering, History, Biology, Music, English, Veterinary Medicine, and Counseling. Faculty members report positive student outcomes from their service-learning courses. Yet there are still many faculty who have questions regarding what exactly service-learning is, how they can employ service-learning in their academic courses, and how they can go about finding a community partner.
Service-learning is a pedagogy that combines community service with academic instruction as it focuses on critical, reflective thinking and civic responsibility. Service-learning involves students in organized community service that addresses local needs, while developing the student’s academic skills through coursework. As the students participate in the service experience it is through service-learning that they are provided with an opportunity to connect their service with what they are learning in the classroom.
Service-learning benefits faculty as it enriches and enlivens classroom teaching. As faculty members engage the community with the curriculum, they become more involved with current societal issues and relate these to areas of academic interest.
In partial fulfillment of the Schillig Grant for the improvement of undergraduate teaching, three service-learning modules were created. Each module is less than 20 minutes in length and assists in understanding the what, how, and who of service-learning. These modules may be used to assist faculty as they work toward incorporating service-learning principles in their academic courses.
Module 1: What is Service-Learning?
Describes the nuts and bolts of service-learning as pedagogy.
Module 2: How to Integrate Service-Learning in Your Academic Course
Illustrates how to take an academic course and infuse it with service-learning principles. This module includes example syllabi from several disciplines.
Module 3: Finding a Community Partner
Explains how to find a community partner/agency that will fit your academic course objectives.