Service-Learning & Volunteering


What is Service-Learning?

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

Furco's Continuum on Service-Learning from Volunteering to Internships. Continuum is broken down in written paragraph below the infographic.

 Infographic 1: Furco's Continuum for Distinctions Among Service Programs

Service-learning shares similarities with internships, field education, practica, and voluntary service. Andrew Furco places these forms of education on a continuum. At one end of the continuum are internships and practica, with their primary focus on the students' career development. At the other end are volunteer activities in which the emphasis is on the civic involvement and the services provided to recipients. Furco places service-learning in the middle of the continuum, and states that it is unique in its "intention to equally benefit the provider and the recipient of the service as well as to ensure equal focus on both the service being provided and the learning that is occurring".

A copy of Furco's original publication on the definition of service-learning and his continuum can be found here:

Service-Learning: A Balanced Approach to Experiential Education

Can I Take A Service-Learning Course?

Yes! USM offers many service-learning courses where students, faculty, and community organizations work together to address community-identified needs in many disciplines. They also appear as electives.

Explore the list of service-learning courses and register on MaineStreet.