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.


Student learning outcomes and competencies

Open the accordions below for more information on service-learning SLOs. They are aligned with NACE career readiness competencies and Missouri State's general education goals.

Methods of service-learning

Direct Service-Learning: Students have face-to-face contact with the service recipients.

Indirect Service-Learning: Students perform a service without having face-to-face contact with the recipient.  Usually resources are channeled to help alleviate a problem.

Advocacy-based Service-Learning: Students educate others about a particular problem or issue with the goal being to eliminate the cause of a particular problem or issue. 

Research-based Service-Learning: Students conduct research about a particular problem or issue with the goal being to eliminate the cause of a particular problem or issues. 

Alternative examples
Method Step Indirect Service-Learning Advocacy-based Service-Learning Research-based Service-Learning
Step 1 Identify the problem/issue that you are currently working to address (Example: Access to healthcare; Environmental Issues in communities; Child Abuse and Neglect; Citizen Engagement in Communities; Hunger, Homelessness, Pollution in the water due to incorrect disposal of medications; lack of cultural knowledge and language for first responders; etc., etc.) Work with your assigned community learning site partner to develop an advocacy campaign to address a topic important to that partner (Examples: Healthy Eating; Stop Smoking; Drunk Driving; Clean Water) Conduct research about a topic or problem/issue (Examples: Vision Deficiencies and Congestive Heart Failure – Is there a relationship or correlation?; Healthy Eating and Vision Deficiencies; Stroke Victims and Vision Deficiencies; Addressing how Medications are Disposed of – the Impact on Clean Water; etc., etc.)
Step 2 Review current literature on the issue in your community (Reading the Community Focus Report is a great place to start) Creating Educational Material to be used for Classroom Learning (lesson plans; activities; etc.) Conduct research to map areas of food insecurity, or drugs, or crimes, or lack of educational facilities, or afterschool programs, etc., for a community
Step 3 Identify at least two articles that discuss the issue or problem in a community that you have identified Writing a Grant or looking for/identifying potential grants for an organization/community learning site partner Impact of vision deficiencies on learning
Step 4 Critically think about how you would work to address this problem in a community Writing a business plan for a new program  
Step 5 Write a plan that discusses elements 1-4 and submit in a report form fashion that can be provided to your community learning-sitec partner Developing a new program  

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.

Annual Report Archive

Affiliations and Classifications

Placement opportunities by academic area

Workshop/conference flyers