increases student engagement
October 2012|Volume 3 No. 2

October 2012
Volume 3 No. 2
Gandhi said it best: “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” With that in mind, LSC-North Harris is encouraging faculty to add a Service-Learning component to coursework.

What is Service-Learning?
Service-Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities (as defined by The National Learning Service Clearinghouse).

It has three components:

Classroom Knowledge + Civic Engagement + Personal Reflection = Service-Learning

Benefits to STUDENTS?
  • Opportunity to solve real-life problems by using knowledge gained from course
  • Improved grades (because course makes sense through the practical application of its content)
  • Better skills in personal and social responsibility
  • Designation of Service-Learning (SL) on one’s transcript makes a positive impression on companies with a corporate culture for community involvement. (Sometimes it gives an applicate the competitive edge over other applicants.)

Benefits to FACULTY:

  • Greater student engagement
  • Better attendance
  • Higher student retention
  • Deeper learning through reflection and critical thinking

Why is Service-Learning important?
A growing body of research recognizes Service-Learning as an effective strategy to help students by:

  • Promoting learning through active participation in service experiences;
  • Providing structured time for students to reflect by thinking, discussing, and writing about their service experience;
  • Providing an opportunity for students to use skills and knowledge in real-life situations;
  • Extending learning beyond the classroom and into the community; and
  • Fostering a sense of caring for others.

What investment of time does it take?
Sixteen (16) hours of documented service is needed in order to have the SL designation on a student’s transcript; however, a certificate is issued to anyone who participates for at least one (1) hour of service. How the student is graded for Service-Learning hours is entirely up to the teacher.

What paperwork is involved?

  • Service-Learning Assignment Form – available from Joyce Boatright
  • Service-Learning Agreement – available from Joyce Boatright
  • Student Community Service Learning Final Evaluation– available from Joyce Boatright
  • Written reflection of experience- student does this at end of service-learning project – guiding questions are available from Joyce Boatright
  • Teacher evaluation of the service-learning project – you decide how to grade the project

Who keeps the paperwork?

Full-time faculty and adjuncts send everything to the Service Learning Coordinator Joyce Boatright ( She is responsible for the heavy lifting: issuing the certificates and notifying the transcript office about the SL designation. She also will offer you guidance to shepherd you through the process. (It is quite easy, but anything new can be daunting the first go-round.)

How can Service-Learning be incorporated in the course?

  • Make it mandatory

Professors who make Service-Learning a requirement in their courses need to have a SL notation in the course schedule, so students will know they have to do field work (community service) outside the classroom.

  • Make it optional

Professors who make Service-Learning an optional requirement should have it replace another course requirement of equal weight, such as a research paper or a major test.

  • Utilize the Service-Learning projects in the course

Students who are participating in Service-Learning may make formal presentations to the class, or they can make significant contributions to discussions where they relate their real-life experiences to the course content.

What are some good ideas for Service-Learning projects?

  • Partner your history class with a social studies class in public school to plan a celebration around a historical event (9/11, Pearl Harbor Day, MLK,  etc.) including a school or public library exhibit.
  • Have students in your English, sociology, or history class go to a senior center to turn oral history into written narratives. Students interview elders (primary source research) and write biographies (life histories), applying skills in listening, paraphrasing, summarizing, and using direct quotations, to name a few.
  • Students in biology, allied health, or nursing can apply what they are learning by volunteering at health clinics.
  • Math students can create math games for YMCA after-school program
  • Multi-media students can volunteer their services for brochures, flyers, websites, etc. to non-profit organizations.
  • Additional suggestions and help is available from the Service-Learning Coordinator (see contact information below).

For consultation and advice about making Serving-Learning a part of your course in Spring 2013, contact Joyce Boatright by email, telephone or in person:


Telephone:  281-618-5532

Office: Library 203, LSC-North Harris