You can earn academic credit by participating in meaningful service activities.

Through Service Learning, students earn academic credit by participating in meaningful service activities. Service Learning fosters a deeper understanding of course content, and enhances a sense of civic responsibility.

Service Learning allows you to apply classroom knowledge while volunteering in a variety of areas. The educational purpose of the program is to channel creativity in solving urban problems, and to build a true sense of community through an experiential, action-reflection, service learning model.

Academics

Service Learning is different from volunteering or community service. When students engage in community service they help meet community needs through volunteering. Students go further in service learning, using the experience to examine themselves, their society and their future.

This reflection takes place through a combination of writing, reading, speaking, listening, and group discussions.

Plus One Credit Option Program

The Plus One Credit Option Program is our main Service Learning model. It encourages you to take a free, one-hour credit addition to any participating course.

The Plus One Credit Option Program allows you to reflect on the basic citizenship responsibilities and leadership components of service. Students may also take courses that include a service element or participate in individual service experiences. Service experiences occur in local neighborhoods, in other regions of the country or abroad.

Service In Action

  • 40 regular community partners
  • 170 students participated in service learning in the 2012/2013 school year
  • 5100 total hours has been completed by service learners

Service Learning Goals

  • Greater understanding of social problems.
  • A sense of responsibility for helping others solve problems.
  • Commitment to volunteerism and an understanding of its connection to citizenship.
  • Increased sense of community and appreciation of cultural diversity.
  • Greater awareness of your own faith and values.
  • Development of marketable skills and teamwork abilities.

Essential Elements of Service Learning

  • Reciprocity: The service and learning must be worthwhile and valuable for both the student and the community.
  • Reflection: Intentional, systematic reflection about the experience is a vital part of developing critical thinking required in Service Learning.
  • Development: Service Learning occurs in different stages: from serving, to enabling, to empowering, and from observation, to experience, to leadership.
  • Meaningful service: Service must be worthwhile and challenging to strengthen critical thinking.
  • Diversity: We place a priority on involving a broad cross-section of students to work among diverse settings and people in the community.

Benefits of Service Learning

For Students

  • Learn from the agency personnel, clientele, experience, and the instructor.
  • Explore majors and careers, gain valuable job experience and strengthen your resume.
  • Enhance critical thinking skills and moral and ethical development.
  • Provide practical application of academic pursuits.
  • Increase understanding of multicultural values and traditions.

For Faculty

  • Form new ways to encourage students' academic progress and comprehension.
  • Build avenues for greater understanding through intentional critical reflection.
  • Improve the motivational base for instruction and learning.
  • Generate support and positive publicity in the community.
  • Establish relations with people in the community.

For the Community

  • Increase opportunities for collaboration and the creation of possible solutions.
  • Enhance meaningful services to the community.
  • Increase awareness of community needs.
  • Create opportunities for community partners to participate in student learning.
  • Build community awareness of college programs and services.

Contact Information

Shanti Chu, Assistant Director for Service Learning
(513) 244-4634
shanti.chu@msj.edu