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Center for Community Engagement

About USM Community-Engaged Learning

USM classifies community-engaged classes into two categories, academic service-learning and community-engaged learning. Faculty/directors should report classes that are academic service-learning for the ASL designation. CCE also tracks community-engaged learning classes (see description below) - please contact cceFREEMississippi to tell us about your course! 

Designated Academic Service-Learning (ASL) classes are indicated on the Class Schedule. Students regularly seek ASL classes because of the Citizen Scholars distinction. Any class can also be offered as ASL with a special agreement between a faculty member and student (see Add an ASL Track). Faculty teaching designated Academic Service-Learning classes may report use of High-Impact Practices. 


List of USM Service-Learning Classes 
Apply for Academic Service-Learning Designation
Online Resources 
Faculty Training (Seminar on Service-Learning)
Track Student Service Hours
Funding Opportunities
Other Ways to Get Involved

Community-Engaged Learning   

  • Community-based experience supports academic learning objectives

  • Involves collaboration with organization external to USM

  • Involves reflection

Academic Service-Learning (ASL course)

  • Community-based experience supports academic learning objectives

  • Partners are nonprofit or government, PK- 12 schools, or philanthropic

  • Involves structured reflection

  • Service project is conducted throughout semester & at least 15 hours

  • Community-based project is mutually beneficial

  • Class potentially impacts students’ sense of personal values and civic responsibility


Service-learning addresses critical community needs. reinforces course content and increases student engagement.

Service-learning is a “course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs, and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of personal values and civic responsibility” (Bringle and Hatcher, 1995, p. 112)..

Service-learning partners usually include nonprofit organizations or governmental agencies, PK- 12 schools, or the philanthropic arm of a for-profit organization. The experiences should be designed to meet both student and community partner needs, which often means that co-ops, internships, and/or clinical practicums designed solely for student benefit are not considered service-learning.

The basic criteria for a service-learning course are that:

  • service supports the attainment of one or more academic course objectives
  • service addresses a community-identified (local, regional, global) need
    learning involves structured student reflection on the service experience and its relation to course goals and/or the academic discipline
  • learning involves reciprocity between course and community that has the potential to result in students' enhanced sense of personal values and civic responsibility
  • service contribution is a minimum of 15 hours, which may consist of planning a project, producing a product, or serving at a site

Faculty or community partners interested in learning more about service-learning should contact Christy Kayser at or 6-6467. 

Contact Us

Center for Community Engagement
116 Harkins Hall
118 College Dr. #5211

Hattiesburg Campus

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