Office of Service-Learning
& Volunteer Programs
West Chester University
Office Location: B 19 Killinger Hall
Mailing Address: 238 Sykes Union
West Chester, PA 19383
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 partcipate in Service-Learning?
WCU Faculty report benefits that include more engaged learning and students having 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 2011-2012 students contributed 344,603 hours of service, with 278,477 hours from Service-Learning courses.
WCU Student Learning Outcomes Assessment projects show the following benefits:
Finding a Community Agency
The Agency Directory will privide 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.
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, Director of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs.
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:
By Amy Driscoll and Lorilee R. Sandmann
TTI Knowledge Base
PA Campus Compact
Campus Compact - Includes example syllabi
National Service-Learning Clearinghouse
PHENND (Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development)- Includes example syllabi