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Academic Service-Learning


Academic Service-Learning is a proven pedagogy, utilizing an experiential learning approach that couples meaningful community-based service with course-specific learning objectives as a mechanism to enhance student learning through addressing real social needs and purposeful academic reflection.  By taking learning from the classroom to the community and back to the classroom, Academic Service-Learning provides a diverse set of tangible academic, social, and cultural outcomes for students, faculty, campus, and community.  Academic Service-Learning at Bentley is a robust and integral component of student learning and growth in key personal and professional areas including:


4th-Credit Option | Embedded Service Learning

  • Civic Skills
  • Cross-cultural understanding
  • Organizational and time management skills
  • Inclusionary practices across identity differences
  • Effective communication skills
  • Leadership for social change


Service-Learning Programs


4th-Credit Option

The 4th-credit option is a one-credit class attached to a three-credit course.  The 4th-credit option enhances learning by helping students apply course concepts in the world outside of the classroom, using knowledge gained in class to assist others. Students may take one 4th-credit option per semester for a total of three semesters.  Three 4th-credit courses add up to the equivalent of a 3-credit course toward the student's transcript.


  • Minimum of 20 hours of service-learning in the community
  • Mandatory attendance at Academic Session One, Program-Specific Pre-Service Training, and Closing Reflection
  • Successful completion of academic deliverables as assigned by the sponsoring faculty member
  • Meetings with the sponsoring faculty member at mid-semester and end of the semester to discuss the connection between service-learning and course learning objectives
  • Approval for service in the community through submitting and passing the Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) through the Bentley Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Center

Mandatory Academic Session, The Program-Specific Pre-Service Training, and Closing Reflection

An essential component of successful service-learning experiences is the preparation process. Students in courses that do not have course-specific projects will be required to attend the mandatory Academic Session and Program Specific Pre-Service Training conducted by the Bentley Service-Learning and Civic Engagement staff before students can begin service in the community.  Students participating service-learning in non-course specific projects are also required to attend the mandatory Closing Reflection.  Please note that, unfortunately, students who do not attend the mandatory trainings and reflections will not be enrolled in the Service-learning 4th-Credit Option.

Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI)

All students participating in service-learning (except identified research projects) must complete and submit a CORI through the BSLCE.  If you have not submitted a CORI through the BSLCE since spring of 2015 you will need to attend one of the two scheduled CORI sessions: 


Tuesday, September 4 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:20 p.m.


Friday, September 7 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:20 p.m.



  • All CORIs are processed in the BSLCE in Morison Hall 101.
  • “Walk-in” CORI requests outside of the scheduled sessions may not be able to be processed.
  • CORIs are valid for three years.

What to bring to CORI Processing

Please bring your valid U.S. driver’s license, state issued I.D. or passport to one of the scheduled CORI processing times.  Photocopies of identifications will not be accepted.

International Students: Must obtain a “Letter of Good Standing” from the Center for International Students and Scholars (CISS) through following this link:        

  • Scroll down to Miscellaneous Forms
    Choose Letter Request Form under Miscellaneous Forms and choose Service-Learning (CORI check)
  • Wait for confirmation email from CISS indicating that your letter is ready.  This can take 2-3 business days.
  • Pick up the letter from CISS and bring it and your passport to MOR 101 to complete the CORI process

To apply for the 4th-credit option:

  1. Log in to MyBentley and click on the following links in order:
    1. Student Self-Service
    2. Main Menu
    3. Undergraduate (Day and Evening) Student Main Menu
    4. Student Services
    5. Service-Learning Application
    6. 4th-Credit Option
  2. Carefully read and complete each section of the 4th-Credit Option application
  3. Print out the completed application
  4. Attach service-learning 4th-Credit syllabus addendum
  5. Sign the application
  6. Have application signed by the professor
  7. Turn in the printed copy of the application to Morison 101 by the deadline  

The application deadline is 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12th.  Please note that, unfortunately, applications submitted past the deadline cannot be accepted.


Embedded Service-Learning

Embedded service-learning courses incorporate into the course curriculum a community-based project that advances learning objectives, addresses an identified community need and involves meaningful student interaction with the community partner. These projects also provide students with an opportunity to build awareness of local communities and the social and civic challenges within them.

Projects can include:

  • Analyzing accounting information systems
  • Developing strategic plans
  • Designing websites
  • Conducting market research 
  • Providing mentoring and tutoring
  • Teaching English as a Second or Other Language
  • Tutoring in computer skills

Embedded service-learning may involve the entire class or can be offered as an embedded track (i.e., one of several assignment options). Students do not receive an additional credit or grade for these projects.

If you are a student enrolled in an Embedded Service-Learning course, please check with your faculty member to confirm whether or not if you are required to complete and submit an Embedded Service-Learning application. Some students participating in Embedded Service-Learning are required to attend Mandatory Academic Session One, the Program Specific Training, and Closing Reflection.

To apply for Embedded Service-Learning, follow the same steps as for the 4th-credit above, but select "Embedded Service-Learning" instead of "4th-Credit Option" while applying on MyBentley.