Academic Service-Learning

What is Academic Service-Learning?

Academic service-learning is more than a volunteer activity; it integrates community service with instruction and reflection. It is designed to enrich the learning experience through hands-on activity and to teach civic responsibility. Academic service-learning requires students to apply what they learn in the classroom and to reflect on their experiences by thinking, discussing, and writing about them. It teaches students how to apply academic knowledge to real-life civic issues, promotes teamwork and collaborative problem-solving, develops life skills and makes learning more personally meaningful.

"The great difficulty in education is to get experience out of ideas." — George Santayana

 Primary Components of Academic Service-Learning at FAU:

  • Relevant and Meaningful Service in the Community  - The AS-L project should be applicable to the course and worthwhile in meeting community needs.
  • Enhanced Academic Learning  - The AS-L project should complement what is learned in the classroom and provide an experience in a “real world” setting.
  • Purposeful Civic Engagement  - The AS-L project should be designed to have students practice the learning strategies and/or content of the class that meets course learning objectives in a community setting.
  • Critical Reflection  - The AS-L project should ask students to reflect on how the project links to (1) course objectives, (2) the impact of the students’ work in the community, and (3) the impact on the students’ personal and professional development.*
  • Minimum of 10 Hours
  • Assessment  of A S-L project
  • Academic Service-Learning Statement
  • Assumption of Risk Statement

Learn more about Academic Service-Learning through Lead and Serve, by contacting  Aaron Hackman, Associate Director Assessment and Research, and the College Community Engagement Liaisons!

Academic Service-Learning...

  • Is a teaching strategy in which learning is achieved through service while applying curriculum taught in class
  • Takes learning to the world beyond the classroom and enhances education by engaging students in service.
  • Allows structured time for thoughtful planning of service experience and guided reflection
  • Allows students to address social issues and make academic connections first-hand
  • Involves students in organized community service that addresses local needs, while developing their academic skills, sense of civic responsibility, and commitment to the community

Distinguishing Characteristics of Some
Common Student Community-Based Experiences


Community Service

Enhanced Academic Learning

Purposeful Civic Learning

Volunteering or Community Service




Co-Curricular Service Learning




Academic Service-Learning








*Not all internships involve service in the community.
From Three Necessary Criteria for Academic Service-Learning, by Jeffrey Howard, 2001,
Michigan Journal of Community Service-Learning: Service-Learning Course Design Workbook, Companion Volume, p.13.

Important Information


Currently enrolled in an Academic Service-Learning Course?

Student Resources

  • Benefits
    • Enrich learning experience
    • Develop life skills
    • Get involved with the community
    • Explore career options
    • Make a difference
    • Academic Service-Learning Hours are also posted to your transcript at the conclusion of each term!

Are you looking to add or learn more about adding Academic Service-Learning (A S-L) into an  existing  course? Please contact your College's Community Engagement Liaison. A list of Liaisons may be found on FAU's Community Engagement  website.

Are you creating a brand new course and interested in including Academic Service-Learning (A S-L)? Please contact your College's Community Engagement Liaison. A list of Liaisons may be found on FAU's Community Engagement website.

Do you teach an SLS course and are and are part of Undergraduate Studies? Contact Aaron Hackman,, in Lead and Serve for more information. 

Did your course recently become designated? Are you currently teaching an Academic Service-Learning (A S-L) course? Review the information below for recommended next steps. 

  • Beginning of Semester
    • The Weppner Center staff will be happy to present to your class on "Why Academic Service-Learning?". Viewing the presentation is a requirement for students completing an A S-L course. This presentation is also available online (see the "For Students" tab above on this page) for students to view on their own. For the in-class presentation, please allow 20 minutes. To schedule this opportunity,  please complete this form with date and time preference and location of class.
    • Guide students in selecting a community partner for their project if this is not already pre-determined. 
    • Once students have selected a community partner for their project, collect the  Academic Service-Learning Risk Waiver  form from each student and keep on file until the end of the semester. At the end of the semester, faculty may send the forms to the Weppner Center office in SS 224, attention Aaron Hackman, to be kept on file for three years.
  • Throughout Semester
    • Instruct students to keep a log of their hours to be submitted to you. Don't have a log? A sample log may be found  here
  • End of Semester
    • Instruct students to complete the    Post-Assessment Survey   . This link will be activated towards the end of each semester.
    • Complete an A S-L Reporting Form to be sent to you by Lead and Serve at the end of the semester to report the hours and community organizations where the A S-L projects took place.

 Faculty Resources

  • Benefits
    • Obtain opportunities for research/publishing
    • Further engage students
    • Incorporate diverse teaching styles
    • Get involved with the community
    • Make a difference



  • Supporting Research


  • Sample Courses
    • SLS 1503: Explore
      • SLS 1503 Syllabus
      • LC Experience Syllabus
      • Explore Service-Learning Contract
    • SLS 1503: Criminal Justice
    • SPN 2221: Intermediate Spanish
    • EDG 3323: Effective Teaching Practices I
    • ENC 4354: Writing for Non-Profits



Thank you for your interest in developing an Academic Service-Learning collaborative partnership with the Weppner Center for LEAD & Service-Learning!

Interested in forming a new Community Partnership?

  • Upon contacting us, the Lead & Serve office adds your organization to our online  Community Opportunities Bank  and circulates them to the appropriate FAU entities in an effort to facilitate the best possible faculty/community connection.

At any time, faculty may access our database of Community Opportunities for potential Academic Service-Learning (A S-L) projects and consider how the projects may relate to their course and course objectives. After developing or selecting an A S-L project based on your agency's Community Opportunities Assessment a faculty member may choose to reach out to your organization on their own or you will be contacted by a member of LEAD & Service-Learning about how to initiate the collaboration.

If Academic Service-Learning is too large or long-term of a commitment for your organization, you can instead become a volunteer community partner for our students. To initiate this less formal approach to working with FAU, Please feel free to  contact us.

Please feel free to  contact us  for more information or if you have any further questions about FAU volunteers or becoming involved with the Academic Service-Learning program here at FAU.

Community Resources

  • Academic Service-Learning & the Community
    The community takes an active role in the academic development of students who take part in Academic Service-Learning courses. Local needs are addressed and met through class projects, volunteer work and advocacy.

  • Benefits
    • Increase availability of resources
    • Strengthen advocacy efforts
    • Enhance public awareness of community needs
    • Engage and build long-lasting relationships with volunteers and FAU
    • Participate in students academic experience
    • Bring education beyond the classroom


Community Opportunities Bank