Community-Based Learning

Developing and Delivering a Service-Learning Course

This page covers what faculty members need to know about collaborating on a service-learning course with the Office of Community-Based Learning. We detail the five phases of a project: matching, planning, placing, running, and reflecting.

Matching

We invite faculty members to contact us to explore which community organizations might make good partners in service learning. We’ll weigh collaboration with an eye to the partner and our students’ potential benefits. Faculty members might begin by browsing our list of potential service-learning projects, linked below.

Some faculty members find it helpful to use our matchmaking worksheet to clarify their objectives in collaboration. The worksheet is linked below as well.

Tools:

Planning

Once the faculty member has connected with a community organization, the pair plan for a successful project. The planning process varies with the depth of the project and the familiarity of the organization and the faculty member with service learning.

The Office endeavors to support collaboration at all levels. We are available to lead or contribute to planning meetings and to assist in writing memoranda of understanding.

Tools:

Placing

Different students bring to bear varying abilities, interests, and levels of availability, as well. Good placement efficiently matches the right students with the right projects. Our student service learning agreement form helps here, from clarifying agency mission to resolving schedules (below).

Some service-learning course place students with multiple community organizations; in these cases, we encourage faculty members to invite organization representatives to present to the class, to help students decide at which agency to serve.

Running

During the semester, faculty members check in with students on their work. Faculty members provide support and accountability for the students. In most cases, faculty members reflect the quality of students’ service in their final grade.

We expect our partners to support students and hold them accountable as well. Additionally, we expect our partners to orient students to the site and clarify their roles and expectations. We expect our students to meet their commitments.

The Office hosts online hours reporting. Some faculty members use the system to track their students’ hours. Reporting also enables the Office to create student service transcripts.

Tools:

Reflecting

We work to assure that each project includes reflection, so that students have an opportunity to discover the meaning of their service. The Office is available to plan reflections for both service-learning classes and co-curricular projects; we are available to run a limited number of reflections as well.

Tools:

Student Spotlight

Sharmarke Hussain Ali was nominated for and received the USM Dog Pound award in the Fall of 2013 in recognition of his outstanding leadership within the community. 

Learn More

Connect With Us