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Center for Community Engagement

About USM Community-Engaged Learning

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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

Description of community-engaged learning: 

  • Community-based experiences support academic learning objectives
  • Class involves collaboration with organization(s) external to USM
  • Students have structured (essays, journals, oral, eg) opportunities to reflect on how community-based experiences connect with academic learning. 

To be considered USM service-learning, there’s a few extra requirements:

  • Community-based experiences occur throughout semester for at least 15 hours
  • Collaborators are nonprofit or government, PK- 12 schools, or philanthropic
  • Community-based projects meet a need identified by the community
  • Class has potential to impacts students’ sense of personal values and civic responsibility

First steps for faculty interested in community-engaged learning: 

  • Contact so we can provide support and/or partner suggestions 
  • Connect with your partner to determine what students will work on and when– what are services students can provide that will also enhance their learning?
  • Develop your syllabus (this checklist might be helpful) 
  • Submit your service-learning designation application – no need to wait for approval 


  • Please notify before Feb. 1 about Summer or Fall semester service-learning plans and before Sept. 15 for Spring service-learning plans. We will get it marked as “Academic Service-Learning” (ASL) in SOAR once designation is granted
  • ASL indications can be removed at any time and late ASL indications will be added the week before classes start.  

Incentives for Students

  • Students who take 2 ASL courses at USM partially meet the requirements to graduate as a Citizen Scholar. Students can also make special arrangements with faculty to have a class count as service-learning.   
  • Students in designated ASL classes receive an end-of-semester certificate and letter from CCE outlining contributions and skills gained. 

Other resources and tips

  • CCE has some online resources that may help you develop your class. 
  • CCE offers a Service-Learning Faculty Fellows program every spring – participants learn best practices of service-learning, teach ASL class, receive $2400 compensation 
  • You or your community partner can add service events on Get Connected,, and have students sign up. Then students can report hours. You, as faculty member, can see how many hours students have completed.  
  • Mini-grants for community engagement projects and community-engaged research (both faculty and student-led) are available. 

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 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.

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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