Marshall Unversity's Center for Teaching & Learning: Service Learning Program
Service Learning Program
Why Use Service Learning?

Q: What is the difference between service learning and volunteerism or internships?

A: Service learning is an academic form of civic engagement that is guided by a specific curriculum. The service is structured and consistent for the duration of the course and reflected on regularly. The relationship between the community organization and the faculty is a mutually beneficial partnership for the students and the organization. Both the students and the organization are gaining valuable recourses.

Volunteerism emphasizes the services provided to the organization. The benefits for the organization outweigh those of the students. In addition, the service is not structured around a curriculum and is usually inconsistent. Reflection does not occur regularly.

Internships emphasize the knowledge the student has already gained. The benefits for the students outweigh those of the organization. Although the work is usually based on a previously learned skill, the work is not structured around a current curriculum and requires significant time practicing the skill. Reflection does not occur regularly.

Q: How can I get connected to a service learning course?

A: Your first step is to contact us! Fill out a Community Needs Survey on our web site so we know what kinds of project you are looking for and we can begin to find a faculty partner for you. Also, sign up on our listserv to keep up to date on what is happening with the MUSLP.

To become a Community Partner, Sign Up Here.

Q: I am new to service learning. Will I be prepared to take on student volunteers?

A: First, take a good look at your organization and what yours needs are. Can students help you fulfill those needs and better service the community? Do you have the capacity and ability to train and observe the students? The MUSLP GA can also assist with service project oversight and questions, but you will need some capacity to do this, also.

Q: I already have a relationship with a Marshall faculty member. Can I utilize this relationship to form a service learning partnership?

A: The partnership must be approved by the MUSLP. It is possible to utilize an existing relationship if the course is academically relevant to what your organization does or needs done. Service learning partnerships are developed by first assessing the needs of your organization. The needs are then compared to existing curriculums and partnered with appropriate courses here at Marshall.

Q: Will the students be prepared for the service learning experience with my organization?

A: Faculty play an important role in preparing the students for the service learning experience. It is required that each course includes at least 1 reading about or pertaining to service learning. The MUSLP GA is also available to discuss service learning with your organization and to answer any questions the students may have, as well as come to observe the service and trouble shoot issues that may arise.

Q: How will I locate appropriate faculty for my organization?

A: The MUSLP can assist you in contacting possible faculty partners and also has a database on our web site of past SL courses and affiliated faculty to browse through. A consultation with a MUSLP representative is beneficial for this process. In addition, the MUSLP invites many of the organizations to participate in campus events and service learning discussions. These are excellent places to meet and speak with faculty that are familiar with the MUSLP.