Sunday – April 22, 2018

What is Service-Learning?

Service-Learning Logo"Service-learning is a credit-bearing, educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs, and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of the course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility."

- excerpted from "A Service Learning Curriculum for Faculty" by Robert Bringle and Julie Hatcher

The bottom line: "Service-Learning = Service + Learning"
Students perform a form of service and an instructor ties the experience to course objectives.

Service-learning is Win-Win-Win!

  • Students win by gaining real-world experience with their classroom knowledge.
  • Faculty win when the learning outcomes are actualized in real-life settings.
  • The community wins by benefiting from the talent, energy and skills of MATC students and faculty.

What Service-Learning is Not

Service-Learning is different from internships, volunteerism and community service.


Focus of


Supervised By/
Graded By

% of Grade


Volunteer services; meeting identified agency or community needs; any work may be done, as long as it helps someone

Varies according to desires of volunteer and needs of agency

Supervised by agency personnel



Both service and learning; meeting community needs while focusing on goals for learning in the course

Averages about 2-3 hours per week, based on agency/school needs

Supervised by agency personnel; graded by instructor based on a tangible demonstration of learning submitted by service-learner (i.e., paper, oral presentation, portfolio)

Varies according to desires of instructor


Learning; practicing skills for a profession, usually in helping fields such as nursing and social work

Varies according to a discipline; almost always more hours per week than service-learning

Supervised and graded by clinical staff

Usually clinical work plus some work and/or research equals 100%


Learning; practicing skills for future work, e.g., public relations, marketing

Varies according to the department; usually at least 20 hrs/week

Supervised by agency personnel; graded by supervising professor


Adapted from Service-Learning at Marquette Faculty Handbook (1998)