We connect students, teachers and community organizations - working together to address social issues through experiential learning.

A series of images off people learning - a woman working on a phone and computer, a man in a labcoat examing leaves, code on a screen, hands typing on a keyboard

What is service-learning?

Service-learning is a teaching method used to connect academic material to engagement in the community. 

It is experiential learning and considered a high-impact practice – which refers to educational methods that are often associated with recruitment and retention of students. 

Types of service-learning

Service-learning takes several forms. 

Integrated course: service-learning is controlled by the course instructor, who embeds community partnerships and experiential learning in the lesson material. 

Component (1-credit) course: service-learning requested as an add-on to a regular course that has been "designated" to host the 1-credit. An instructor oversees and assesses the student work, but projects and partnerships within the community are handled by our office in agreement with the student.

Introductory course: like an integrated course, but bite-sized service-learning that occurs within GEP 101 courses or courses set up for short term, half-day experiences in the community. 

Open the accordions below for more information on integrated and component (1-credit) service-learning.


Service-learning advisors will help you get started

Why do service-learning?

Due to the nature of working with community partners, the projects and coursework is not theoretical. The relationship with community partners ensures that students are working on projects that have real causes, barriers and impacts.

So, not only is the learning applicable to the material in an academic course, students are being actively shown how their learning connects to a real-world scenario.

How to find a service-learning course in Schedule Search

You can use the Course Schedule Search function to view service-learning courses by attribute.

Impact - Academic Year 2021

Student helping a child learn how to use a toy stethescope

  • 8,579 students participated in one or more service-learning courses
  • 104,466 hours were provided to the community
  • $2,711,937 of total service value in the last academic year (independentsector.org)
  • 752 available service-learning courses

The following graph illustrates the increase in the number of students completing service-learning courses over the years (by acadmic year: "AY").

Graph of total number of service-learning students over the years

We focus on issues identified by the community itself

A lot of our information about the community comes from the Springfield Community Focus Report. Faculty teaching integrated courses are encouraged to use the report to help generate partnerships and address issues through their coursework.

 Community Focus Report 2021 Logo

Visit the Springfield Community Focus home and our Featured Area Initiatives page for more info about the good our students do around town.