Faculty and Service-Learning FAQs

Below please find a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about service through the Office of Service and Social Action.

How does Service-Learning differ from traditional internships, clinicals, practica or field placements?

Will the addition of Service-Learning to my pre-existing course, or creating a new Service-Learning course, take a lot of time?

Will all of my students have to do their Service-Learning at the same agency or organization?

Can Service-Learning be optional or for extra credit?

How many hours should I assign students for Service-Learning activities?

How do my students sign up for service activities?

Should the Service-Learning be discussed or addressed in class?

Can my students find their own Service-Learning activities?

What is “reflection”, and how can I incorporate that into my Service-learning class?

How does Service-Learning differ from traditional internships, clinicals, practica or field placements?

Internships, etc. provide students with experiences to develop professional skills. Service-Learning experiences are tied to course learning objectives, but also focus on fostering civic engagement and responsibility.

Will the addition of Service-Learning to my pre-existing course, or creating a new Service-Learning course, take a lot of time?

Initially it may take more time to set up partnerships with agencies that can provide meaningful and related experiences for your students. However, the CSE already has partnerships with many agencies in the area and we can help to facilitate any new relationships you might like to establish.

Will all of my students have to do their Service-Learning at the same agency or organization?

No. As long as their experience fulfills the learning objectives you have set related to service, they may choose from a variety of settings. Students can also do their service at more than one agency or organization over a semester.

Can Service-Learning be optional or for extra credit?

Absolutely! You might offer the option of a research paper or presentation as another option. If you offer SL as extra credit, best practice is to provide parameters of the extra credit in the syllabus. Parameters of the Service-Learning should also be clearly defined in the syllabus.

How many hours should I assign students for Service-Learning activities?

The number of Service-Learning hours will vary depending upon the type of service-learning you utilize (see Service-Learning under the faculty section of this website). Students will respond positively to a service –learning requirement if the service is framed within a particular time period (e.g. begin the 3rd week and end after the 15th week) and as a commitment, not a chore. If you choose to have your students do service projects rather than sustained service throughout the semester, it is recommended that you set clear parameters and a rubric for service projects.

How do my students sign up for service activities?

Generally students follow a three-step process to participate in service activities: Registering for service opportunities through the Office of Service and Social Action is simple.

  1. Enroll as a Service Participant
  2. Complete the Pre-Service Orientation (and pass the quiz which follows) on our website (Steps 1 and 2 are usually one-time events; once you pass the quiz you will not need to do these again).
  3. Search and Register for a Service Activity

Should the Service-Learning be discussed or addressed in class?

Service-Learning does not HAVE to be addressed in class; students can use one of many reflection tools or strategies. However, research re: effective SL reveals that devoting class time to reflection and discussion of student SL experiences results in higher learning and satisfaction.

Can my students find their own Service-Learning activities?

Students who enroll in a service-learning course who wish to set up their own service placements should be aware that STUDENTS ASSUME ALL RISKS AND RESPONSIBILITIES WHEN CHOOSING TO SERVE AT A SITE WHICH HAS NOT COMMITTED TO A PARTNERSHIP WITH THE OSSA. If you wish to have the CSE track hours for your student’s self-placed activities, please note that:

  • Your student must serve at an agency or organization that is a registered community partner with the OSSA (if they are not on our list, please contact the OSSA at 260.399.8080)
  • The service your student provides must meet the service guidelines below:

Meets requirements as service

  • Organizing and working at service or fundraising events
  • Blood Drives (giving blood, up to 1 hour a semester)
  • Participating in fundraising walks, 5K, dances, Polar Plunges (up to 1 hour a semester)
  • Better Together and MLK Day of Service activities and other Special service events

Does not meet requirements as Service
  • Philanthropic activities (helping others through the giving of gifts, participating in collections or donation projects) such as shoes, medicines, glasses, food, toys, adopting Christmas Families, etc, USF Feeds the Fort, Toys for Tots, United Way, or other fundraisers) unless approved ahead of time by your instructor
  • Observing at an agency does NOT count
  • Working Open Houses
  • Serving on Campus or Student Committees
  • Working an event sponsored by a club or organization in which student is a member

What is “reflection”, and how can I incorporate that into my Service-learning class?

Reflection can be group discussion, writing a paper about their experience (we can help you with prompts for students to address), a Blackboard discussion, doing a YouTube video showing their work, or doing a presentation to the class, to name a few. The OSSA can help you with more ideas.