Academic service-learning is the connection of concepts in
the classroom to service experiences in the community. Service-learning
encourages students to begin or to continue service in preparation for a
lifetime of civic engagement and leadership. In addition, service-learning is
an important learning tool. Through service, students have the opportunity to
apply the concepts, theories and other material that covered in class. The
community becomes a text for the class, and is as critical to “read” as other
For more information about service-learning partnerships, contact Elizabeth O'Brien for more information.
CSCE has identified two service-learning approaches as particularly effective at Seattle University.
Students choose a community agency from a list of opportunities approved by their professor and serve for a set period of time, usually 18 hours (or 2-3 hours per week) for the quarter. The placement-based approach works particularly well in introductory level courses because it does not require students to have a particular expertise or set of skills. Example:
PSYC 120 Introduction to Psychology. This course combines the academic study of psychology with an 18-hour service experience at homeless shelters, schools or other direct services agencies. Professors ask students to draw upon their service experiences as an additional "text" through discussions and assignments.
Students work on a project identified by a community agency. Typically working in small groups, students draw upon previous knowledge and course content to successfully complete the project. The project-based approach is most appropriate for upper level courses since it can be structure to utilize students' expertise in a particular discipline. Example:
FINC 343: Financial Institutions and Markets. Students act as "consultants" for the City of Seattle's Economic Development Division. In teams of three or four, students identify and survey immigrant business owners in Seattle. Each team subsequently develops a report and recommendations for how the city might support the expansion of these important business efforts.
Questions? Contact Elizabeth O'Brien.