Academic Service Learning

Academic service learning occurs when instructors use community service to teach course concepts. Students build their understanding and skills through work that benefits the community. 

These projects:

  • must utilize active reflection
  • involve collaborative planning by students, faculty and community partners 
  • identify attainable goals that are mutually valuable by all partners 
  • create opportunities for community partners to co-educate students 
  • allow students to provide meaningful service activities. 

Academic service learning also includes assessment of outcomes for all partners, with project results disseminated publically or to the Impact Program. Below, we’ve included specific resources for community partners, faculty/staff, and students.

For Students

Whether you’re new to service learning or looking to deepen your involvement, we’re glad that you’re here! Research supports the effectiveness of academic service learning to boost your understanding of topics learned in class through hands-on experience while you explore, solidify or act on your values and beliefs.

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For Community Partners

Community organizations often develop partnerships with Gateway through unpaid internships, volunteer opportunities or academic service learning projects. Community organizations interested in collaborating can start here to learn more about academic service learning, how to get involved, and what is expected of a partnership.

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For Faculty/Staff

Faculty interested in implementing service learning in their existing courses don’t have to blaze a new trail. Support structures and resources are available at the click of a button. Contact Sarah Marbes, Impact Program coordinator, at