Office of Service-Learning
& Volunteer Programs

West Chester University

Office Location: B 19 Killinger Hall
Mailing Address: 238 Sykes Union
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-3379


For Faculty

Ven Diagram

What is Service-Learning?

Academic service-learning is a teaching method that combines community service with curricular goals as it focuses on critical, reflective thinking, and civic responsibility.  Service-learning programs involve students in organized community service that addresses community needs, while developing their academic skills, sense of civic responsibility, and commitment to the community.

This growing area in higher education is distinguished from other experiential education approaches by benefiting both the provider and the recipient of the service.

Why participate in Service-Learning?

WCU Faculty report benefits that include more engaged learning and students have a better understanding of the course goals. In addition, it is energizing, meets the University Plan for Excellence goals and can assist in the tenure and promotion process. In 2012-2013 students contributed 408,000 hours of service, with 345,000 hours from Service-Learning courses.

The following benefits are from the WCU Student Learning Outcomes Assessment project:

  • builds critical thinking skills
  • enhances academic performance
  • fosters engaged learning
  • promotes active citizenship
  • improves self-esteem and self-concept
  • develops a service consciousness and ethic
  • exposure to diversity and a global society
  • teaches leadership skills
  • increases a sense of social responsibility
  • provides career exploration and insight

Finding a Community Agency

The Agency Contact List will provide you with a detailed list of community partners. When selecting a community agency for your service-learning course, be sure to connect with staff from the agency to discuss their expectations of the volunteers, the students expectations, and your learning outcomes. By giving the agency an overview of what your students are studying and how it directly relates to community involvement, the community agency can assist with the learning outcomes. Talking about expectations will allow for open communication. Many service-learning classes invite community partners to class for an orientation and overview about the agency during the first few weeks of the semester. If you need assistance with selecting an agency, you can speak with Director of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs, Jodi Roth-Saks.

Starting a Service-Learning Course - Work through the Prezi

 

Risk Management:

To help ensure a successful service-learning experience for you and your students, the Office of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs recommends that you review these Risk Management Guidelines. The best way to manage any potential risks is to think through your design, prepare well, and maintain open communication. We recommend utilizing the Assumption of Risk form when sending students into the community. You can also have students fill out the Service-Learning Contract; which includes the responsibilities for each of the parties involved.

If you would like to discuss risk-management and liability, as well as other issues related to service-learning, please contact: Jodi Roth-Saks, Director of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs.

Resources

The office has a plethora of resources for faculty to utilize. Some of these resources include; recent publications about service-learning in different disciplines, service-learning reflection tools, and forms, such as the Service-Learning Time Sheet for Class. Many publications, including workbooks and sample syllabi from WCU faculty, are part of our Service-Learning Resources. Two additional online resources that may be helpful with the tenure and promotion process include:

Favorite Links

PA Campus Compact
Campus Compact - Includes example syllabi
National Service-Learning Clearinghouse
PHENND (Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development)- Includes example syllabi

Course Reports