Service Learning at FAU

Service learning is not simply volunteer activity but integrates in intentional ways community service with instruction and reflection. It is designed to enrich the learning experience through hands-on activity and to teach civic responsibility. 
Service learning requires students to apply what they learned in the classroom and to reflect on their experiences by thinking, discussing, and writing about them. It also teaches students not only how to apply academic knowledge to real-life civic issues but promotes teamwork and collaborative problem-solving, develops life skills, exposes students to the complexity of the human experience and challenges simplistic solutions, and makes learning more personally meaningful.

The following criteria for service learning were developed by retired FAU Professor Lorraine Cross of the College of Education.

Criteria for Academic Service-Learning

Relevant and Meaningful Service with the Community

Relevant service:

  • Contributes to improvement in the community
  • Is relevant to the course

Meaningful service:

  • Community deems the service worthwhile and necessary
  • Activities align with students’ learning interests and skills

Enhanced Academic Learning:

  • Service will complement what is learned in the classroom
  • Experience in the real world allows learning that is often precluded
  • Reflection on the experience in light of particular learning objectives

Purposeful Civic Learning:

  • Distinguishes academic service-learning from other service programs
  • Provides educationally-sound learning strategies to harvest community learning and realize course learning objectives.

Reflection is an important component of service learning.  It is a way to have students intentionally think about their academic service-learning experience as it relates it to the course curriculum and the impact they have had in the community.  Reflection can take many forms: individual and group, oral and written, directly related to course material or not. Reflection should include opportunities for participants to receive feedback from those persons being served, as well as from peers and program leaders. (Adapted from Honnet & Poulsen).

For more information about incorporating Academic Service-Learning within your course, visit                        The Office of Community Engagement or contact your College Community Engagement Liaison.


Resources for Faculty Florida Campus Compact

National Service-Learning Clearinghouse