Service-Learning at Hiram College

Service Learning, as defined by Learn and Serve America, "is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities." Service Learning Courses (SL) are 1-4 credit hour courses which fulfill the following criteria:

  • Provide academic content and experiences whose student-learning outcomes are enhanced by activities beyond the traditional classroom.
  • Provide service activities, which by design reinforce course learning objectives & enhance student learning
  • Identify and provide a service, such as volunteering of time and giving of resources, to members of a local, national, global or ecological community.
  • Offer structured opportunities for reflection.
  • Enhance civic responsibility and create a broader understanding of opportunities for civic engagement within the discipline being taught.
  • Provide student preparation and support for service activities.
  • Respect and acknowledge the sustainability of the service and relationship with the community partner(s).
  • Maintain mutual respect and reciprocity between students and the community partner.
  • Include systems for student, course, and community partner evaluations.
  • Include a minimal of 20 hours of service, including at least five direct contact hours with an agency and/or its clientele. Up to 10% of service hours may include transportation and/or an orientation given by the agency.

What does NOT constitute service-learning?

  • A course that has students meet each week to reflect on what happened at the service site, for example, is not service-learning because "reflecting on what happened at the service site", while important, does not comprise academic curriculum.
  • A course in which students go into the community to observe or conduct research which does not benefit the agency, for example, would not be service-learning, since observing and conducting such research do not constitute providing a service that addresses a community need.
  • A course that has students go into the community to do projects, but the projects are never discussed during the course, would also not be service-learning since these courses do not integrate reflection into the course.

Process SL designation

  • Faculty will submit syllabi and accompanying information regarding the proposed service learning course to the Office of Civic Engagement for comment and any recommendations.
  • The Director of the Office of Civic Engagement will then send finalized syllabi along with his or her recommendation as to whether it meets the SL criteria to the New Course Committee for final approval.
  • Approved service learning courses will have a SL designation in course catalogs and on student transcripts.

Over-arching learning outcomes

  • Students make connections are able to integrate service and classroom learning.
  • Made a contribution to a local, national, global or ecological community.
  • Demonstrates an enhanced understanding of civic responsibility.
  • Demonstrates an enhanced understanding of opportunities to engage in civic responsibility within the discipline being taught.
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