Implementing Service Learning
The CSU Strategic Plan for Community Service Learning aims to make service learning opportunities available to every student in the CSU system. The following best practices are used to establish criteria for developing service learning courses and serve as a reference for implementing high quality service learning.
- The syllabus is developed and revised to incorporate the service experiences into teaching and learning objectives of the course.
- Partner agencies define their needs and are active in the planning process for the service.
- The faculty member becomes acquainted with each community agency with which students are placed; understanding the agency mission, clientele, location, and student role.
- Preparation for the service addresses student training, clarification of responsibilities, and risk management issues.
- As a best practice, a minimum of 15 hours of service provides the scope of experience necessary for effective student engagement. However, faculty ultimately determine, based on their respective curricula, the number of hours necessary for effective learning.
- Students are introduced to the partner agency before the service begins, including orientation to the issues being addressed.
- Academic credit is awarded for the learning gained from the experience, not for the service itself.
- The service experience is connected to the course through readings, projects, and class presentations.
- Reflection on the service experience is on-going and includes dialogue about community issues and the need for service.
- Students, faculty, and community representatives participate in the evaluation process.