Academic Service Learning

Service Learning students work in their communities and in the classroom to connect service work to the larger themes of their education. Service learning is one of the surest ways of creating a thoughtful, well-rounded student with a vested interest in both their own future and that of the world in which they live.

UM defines service learning as a method of teaching and learning in which students, faculty and community partners work together to enhance student learning by applying academic knowledge in a community-based setting. Student work addresses the needs of the community, as identified through collaboration with community or tribal partners, while meeting instructional objectives through faculty-structured service work and critical reflection meant to prepare students to be civically responsible members of the community. 

At its best, service learning enhances and deepens students’ understanding of an academic discipline by facilitating the integration of theory and practice, while providing them with experience that develops life skills and engages them in critical reflection about individual, institutional, and social ethics.

The benefits of service learning are far-reaching:

  • Students become more well-rounded, engaged citizens of a world that extends beyond the campus. Their education experience is enlivened and relevant.
  • Faculty explore options for research and publication through community projects, as well as expanding their role as a member of the community.
  • The community strengthens its historical ties to the university and is awarded with thousands of hours of work devoted to its hundreds of nonprofits each year.