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Service-Learning and Civic Engagement

4th-Credit Course Guidelines

The following guidelines were developed by the Course Review Committee of the Service-Learning Faculty Advisory Board. The Service-Learning Center will provide assistance to you with regard to any of these guidelines.

  • A service project should advance at least one learning objective of the course, address a real community need, and require meaningful student interaction with the community partner
  • The course syllabus should include a description of the objectives, requirements, and grading criteria for the service-learning component. Part of the grade should measure the academic learning gained by the student through the service component
  • Student work should include a journal assignment that provides opportunities for students to analyze the service experience, connect it to the subject matter of the course, and consider the project in the broader context of civic engagement
  • Faculty should arrange at least two meetings with students individually or as a group during the semester where students discuss and reflect on their service project

The final assignment should link the community service with course content and may include, in business-related courses, a presentation of the work product to the community partner.

In following the guidelines, your syllabus should:

  • Explain the scope and objectives of the service in which the student will engage
  • Explain how student work will be evaluated (credit is always given for demonstrated learning not the service itself)
  • Outline how the service component will advance course objectives
  • Provide background information, if possible, about the community partner(s) best suited for the course
  • Indicate how students will engage in ongoing and structural analysis of the service experience and its relationship to the subject matter of the course

If you have any questions or would like to offer one of your future courses as a 4th-credit or embedded option, please contact Dr. Samantha Eddy, Associate Director of Academic Programs at