NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ858610
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0271-0560
Innovative Practices in Service-Learning and Curricular Engagement
Bringle, Robert G.; Hatcher, Julie A.
New Directions for Higher Education, n147 p37-46 Fall 2009
Although there are many manifestations of civic and community engagement, curricular engagement in general and service-learning classes in particular are core components as campuses progress beyond traditional models of engagement, such as expert-based approaches to outreach and professional service, that develop broader and deeper impact across the campus and within communities. As a core component of civic engagement, service-learning is defined as a "course-based, credit bearing educational experience in which students: (1) participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs; and (2) reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of personal values and civic responsibility." This definition highlights the academic, curricular nature of service-learning; the importance of community voice in the development, implementation, and assessment of the impact of a service-learning course; the key role that reflection activities play in intentionally connecting the community service activity to reach targeted educational outcomes; and the importance of expanding educational objectives to include civic education. In service-learning, students are not only "serving to learn," which occurs in other forms of curricular engagement and applied learning such as clinical, fieldwork, internship, and practicum, but also "learning to serve," the unique civic dimension of the pedagogy. Unlike many other forms of practice-based and community-based learning (examples are cooperative education, extension service placements, field education, internships, and practicum), service-learning is integrated into a course and has the intentional goal of developing civic skills and dispositions in students. Unlike cocurricular community service programs (volunteer programs, community outreach, and student service organizations, for example), service-learning is academic work in which the community service activities are used as a "text" that is interpreted, analyzed, and related to the content of a course in ways that permit a formal evaluation of the academic learning outcomes. This article summarizes institutional best practices in the assessment of service-learning. (Contains 1 figure.)
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Subscription Department, 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A