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Categories of Service-Learning

Listed below are a variety of applied learning experiences that involve making connections between service and academic course-work.  The courses listed below are taken from a composite listing of service-learning courses taught at various public and private higher education institutions across the country.  They are listed here to provide SMSU faculty and students with a sense of how service may be incorporated into coursework across academic disciplines.

Categories of Service Learning Table

Internships/Field Placements: 

Supervised work outside the classroom lecture setting; more training and skill development focus than service; primary focus on developing skills specific to one's discipline; some involve extensive integrative seminars and a focus on one's overall growth with respect to career development and citizenship responsibilities.

  • Accounting, Accounting Internship - Student works 8-10 hours/week in local accounting firm and is provided with training in variety of skills related to accounting, supervised on a regular basis by site supervisor and faculty advisor, and required to complete integrative assignments (e.g., final paper, final presentation, journal, etc.)
  • Education, Student Teaching Field Placement - Upper division student is assigned to K-12 setting to apply theory/methods of teaching learned in classroom setting, evaluated by local teacher and faculty advisor, and completes integrative assignments.
  • Psychology, Advanced Applied Psychology (Internship) - Students work in variety of clinical, non-profit, corporate, and K-12 settings for 8-10 hours/week, receive ongoing training/supervision related to development of skills required of the discipline of psychology in which they are working, complete variety of integrative assignments that involve development of self as professional and self as citizen.

Service-Learning Courses:

Community service incorporated into traditional lecture courses.

  • Chemistry, Chemistry in Service of the Community - Students work with community partners to identify neighborhood homes that have unsafe levels of lead contamination;  First Year Seminar in Chemistry: Chemistry through a Child's Eye - Working in groups of six, students present chemistry to elementary school students in local community.
  • Computer Science, Web Site Design and Management - In this advanced web design course, teams of students who have taken prerequisite courses in computer graphics/HTML design and build fully functioning websites for area organizations.
  • General Studies/First Year Experience Seminar, Introduction to Service, Citizenship, and Community - Students integrate insights gained from interdisciplinary anthology designed for first year experience courses (including essays from philosophy, literature, political science, sociology, etc. disciplines) with 15 hours of service work at area non-profit agencies.  Topics of inequality, environmental degradation, racism, citizenship, corporate social responsibility, and career opportunities in non-profit sectors are considered.
  • History, A Nation of Joiners: Volunteerism and Social Movements in America - Students can opt to work 3 hours/week at local service site (e.g., food bank, historical society) and write a selective, analytical history of the organization at which they are working.  This is then shared with service site members and classmates.
  • Philosophy, Introduction to Philosophy - Students can opt to replace a second paper requirement with becoming involved with service activities at local HIV/AIDS prevention programs and Hospice centers for 2-3 hours/week.  Students are required to write reflective paper, maintain a journal that relates applied service experiences with course content, and do a classroom presentation.
  • Psychology, General Psychology - After learning about the nature of drug use/abuse, changes in brain structure, and treatment prevention alternatives, students gain first-hand experience with using scientific methodology (i.e., developing hypothesis, designing a field-based research study, and developing an investigative measure) by becoming involved with implementing and measuring the impact of a drug prevention education program based in the community.

Service-Learning Lab:

One to three credit option or required lab is created to augment existing course(s).

  • Communication, Communication Tech Tutors - Individual students or groups of students enrolled in Management and Design Principles course can opt to assist K-12 students/teachers, non-profit agencies, and small business employees with writing grant proposals to meet the training and technological needs of the agency (e.g., tutoring in basic computer literacy, assisting with needs assessment).
  • Foreign Language/Education, Spanish w/ Service-Learning - Students enrolled in entry level Spanish courses become involved with local migrant bilingual mentor/tutor after-school program for 2-3 hours/week.

Independent Study w/ Service Learning:

Students enroll in independent study research projects that include community service experience and opportunities to integrate service work with supplemental readings.

  • Environmental Ethics, Independent Study in Humanities:  Community Service Option - Students enroll in Independent Study in Humanities where they are assigned supplemental readings in environmental ethics topics of interest and local relevant service community service sites.  Students work 2-3 hours/week while reviewing assigned readings and meeting individually with faculty advisor throughout semester.

Capstone Course with Service Component:

Upper division students enroll in capstone experience that includes community service component and opportunities for integrating service experiences with cumulative coursework.

  • English Capstone, Writing Senior Capstone - This course is final course in sequence of writing courses.  Students are involved with various service-learning options that provide them with opportunities to work with non-profit agencies to develop 'real world,' usable texts (in contrast to texts written for academic contexts) for those agencies.
  • Multidisciplinary Capstone, 'Making Connections': A Service-Learning Liberal Arts Capstone Course - A culminating applied learning experience involves students from various disciplines working in interdisciplinary groups on community service projects.  Students explore connections between their disciplines of interest while assisting with development of renovation proposals for local, historic arcade theatre.

Problem-Focused Service-Learning:

Disciplinary and inter-disciplinary teams of students work with common community partners to identify and address area needs.

  • Foreign Language/Journalism, Spanish and Journalism Service-Learning Courses - Interdisciplinary team of faculty and upper-division students work with Hispanic community partners to identify community needs and create ongoing service-learning opportunities in the areas of radio broadcasting (5 minute interviews with Hispanic community members on topics of local interest), maintenance of bilingual newspaper, and provision of translation services.
  • Sociology/Justice Administration/Psychology, American Culture/ Community Psychology/Applied Justice Administration Courses - Upper division sociology and psychology students review a variety of supplemental readings related to assessment of community assets/needs, participatory research, and efficacy for involvement in social change movements while working as interdisciplinary teams with area communities to conduct assets/needs assessment related to child-care and crime reduction concerns.

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