Service learning is a type of experiential learning that engages students in service within the community as an integrated aspect of a course. Students participate in an organized service activity and reflect on that activity to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of personal values and civic responsibility. Within service learning, classroom studies complement service within the community and enable students to reflect upon and address local and national social problems. Service learning engages students in active, collaborative, and inquiry-based learning experiences that meet identified community needs. Service learning classes are offered in many departments and demonstrate the creative expertise of faculty committed to extending disciplinary work into local communities. Service learning not only changes the way students learn, but it changes society’s view of education and service. In this sense, service learning is a philosophy of education and service to the community.
Service Learning is an academic program which enables students to perform meaningful community service related to their courses. Each semester, many professors at Marquette University offer their students a service option as a means to learn in practice what they are learning in theory in the classroom. Agencies and schools in the community benefit from the services provided by the students and become partners in their education as well. Service learning classes are offered in many departments and demonstrate the creative expertise of faculty committed to extending disciplinary work into local communities. Currently, approximately 1,200-1,300 students from 55-65 university courses are placed at 100-125 community agencies each semester.
Service Learning has been found to enhance the following (according to the accumulated research of Astin, Vogelgesang, Ikeda, & Yee, 2000; Eyler & Giles, 1999)