What is Service Learning?
UCF defines service-learning as “a teaching method that uses community involvement to apply theories or skills being taught in a course. Service-Learning furthers the learning objectives of the academic course, addresses community needs, and requires students to reflect on their activity in order to gain an appreciation for the relationship between civics and academics.”
Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that supports UCF’s commitment to harness the power of its scale to transform lives and livelihoods. It does this by integrating meaningful community service with instruction and reflection.
Service-learning is reciprocal and balances student learning with community needs. Faculty and community partners establish the learning objectives that address social and community needs. A service-learning course blends hands-on community involvement with course materials such as lectures, readings, discussions, and reflection activities.
Students who participate in service-learning acquire a deeper understanding of course content, develop a broader appreciation of the discipline, and gain enhanced sense of civic responsibility.
The service and learning must be worthwhile for both the student and the community. There must be reciprocity between the server and those served.
Intentional, systematic reflection of the experience must take place in order to thoughtfully connect the service-learning experience with the assigned curriculum. Reflection is what transforms experiences into learning.
Service-Learning occurs in different stages: servicing to enabling to empowering; observation to experience to leadership.
Service tasks need to be worthwhile and challenging in order to strengthen student’s critical thinking while fostering civic responsibility.
A priority is placed on involving a broad cross-section of students working in a diverse setting and with a diverse population within the community.
Service-Learning Publication Venues for Students
Undergraduate Journal of Service-Learning and Community-Based Research which is generously funded by Penn State Berks, is a refereed, multidisciplinary, online undergraduate journal that will advance knowledge in new scholarly arenas by presenting intellectual and reflective work by undergraduates.
The Undergraduate Journal of Service-Learning and Community-Based Research adds to the increasing number of scholarly journals that invite undergraduates to pursue their own intellectual projects. We seek undergraduate contributions to the burgeoning academic conversation on Service-Learning and community-based research.
The Undergraduate Journal of Service-Learning and Community-Based Research is open to undergraduate students in the U.S. and across the globe in all subject areas. All submissions will undergo a rigorous review process.
The International Undergraduate Journal for Service-Learning, Leadership, and Social Change, housed at Columbia College in South Carolina, only accepts articles from undergraduate students. The Journal considers three types of articles:
- Articles that discuss the development of a service-learning project and the impact of the project on the community served;
- A case study of a service-learning project;
- A reflection on service-learning and the development of personal leadership.
Reflections, a peer reviewed journal, provides a forum for scholarship on civic writing, service-learning and public rhetoric. Originally founded as a venue for teachers, researchers, students and community partners to share research and discuss the theoretical, political and ethical implications of community-based writing and writing instruction, Reflections publishes a lively collection of essays, empirical studies, community writing, student work, interviews and reviews in a format that brings together emerging scholars and leaders in the fields of community-based writing and civic engagement.
Service-Learning Certificate Criteria
The certificate program in service-learning is designed for students in any discipline who seek to engage in a reflective analysis of community service as it relates to academic course work. Service-Learning is an established and well-tested teaching method that uses a community setting as a living laboratory in which students apply theories or skills taught in traditional classrooms to real-world environments. Service-Learning furthers the learning objectives of the academic course, addresses community needs, and requires students to reflect on their activity in order to gain an appreciation for the relationship between civics and academics. Through Service-Learning (SL) courses, students develop academic skills, civic responsibility, and career opportunities. This certificate is open to all graduate and undergraduate students in any major.
Credit Hour/Course Requirements
12 hours and/or 4 UCF approved SL courses. Students may choose any of the UCF-approved service-learning courses in any discipline to satisfy the credit hour requirements. Service-Learning courses are designated with an “SL” and can be accessed under “special groups” in the class schedule. If you are involved in a service-learning course that has not been approved, please contact the Office of Experiential Learning to discuss your eligibility for the certificate.
- Minimum GPA of 2.5 in UCF-approved SL classes
- Minimum of 60 community service hours in UCF-approved SL classes
Students who are eligible to receive the Service-Learning Certificate must apply for it when they file their intent to graduate form the semester prior to graduation.
Questions? Not certain if your course work is “SL” designated? Please contact Amy Zeh, Program Director, Service-Learning at UCF 407-823-4395 or Amy.Zeh@ucf.edu
Forms and Materials
The following forms and materials may be helpful to you:
- Identify Course Objectives
- On the job conduct
- Safety Manual for Service-Learning
- Suggestions for Community Partners
- UCF Media Release
- Service-Learning Course Approval Application and Criteria
- Identifying Your Civic Interests and Concerns
- Service-Learning Community Partner Profile Form
- Service-Learning Showcase Application