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Center for Community Engagement

About USM Service-Learning


The CCE promotes and supports service-learning classes on USM's campus. 

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). By design, the criteria for USM service-learning classes align closely with the language of this definition.

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.

Service-learning addresses critical community needs. reinforces course content, and increases student engagement. Its academic context inside a classroom enriches students' service experiences by raising questions about real-world concerns and promoting critical thinking about civic responsibility.

Faculty - not quite at the service-learning stage or just want to connect with the community? See Academic Community Engagement  page. 

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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