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Center for Community Engagement

USM Policy for Designating Service-Learning Classes

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USM has approved the following review process to identify and clearly label classes meeting the disciplinary standards for service-learning pedagogy.

An application is available to USM faculty members, school directors, or other appointees who wish to designate a class as service-learning. You can submit an application to designate an ASL class at any time during the year. A faculty committee, with input from the CCE Director, will review and approve/deny applications.

Applications can be submitted for a

  • one-time designation
  • long-term designation, renewable every five years
  • for a specific instructor or for any time the class is taught 

The completed application must demonstrate that the class meets the below criteria for service-learning. 

If a class is approved for the ASL designation, CCE will add the “Academic Service-Learning” class attribute to the appropriate section(s) in the class schedule in SOAR (see example of how this looks to students). Once your class is designated, please communicate your service-learning plans to CCE each year by Feb. 1 for summer/fall semester and Sept. 15 for spring semester so that we can add the attribute in SOAR. We will have the ability to remove the attribute if plans fall through. 

Criteria for service-learning

  • 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

By design, the criteria for USM service-learning classes align closely with the definition of service-learning proposed by Robert Bringle & Julie Hatcher, who define it 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). 

Faculty who teach a class with the “ASL” designation and who incorporate service-learning pedagogy during the semester will be indicated as using a "High-Impact Practice (HIP)" in Faculty Success (formerly Digital Measures) by CCE at the conclusion of that semester.

For more information, contact Christy Kayser, director of the CCE, at christy.kayserFREEMississippi

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