About the Center

What is Service-Learning?

Service-learning is an experiential teaching method that intentionally integrates academic learning and relevant community service.

Through providing service for a community agency or school, students take part in activities in which both the server and those being served teach and learn. Students, faculty, and community members are interconnected partners and each play a critical part in this dynamic process.

The student contributes knowledge, energy, and ideas to the community, and in return, the community provides the student with real-life experiences and observations. The faculty then integrates the experience into course curricula to facilitate learning.

Service-Learning Distinctives

    Academic: Integrated into course goals and outcomes

    Reciprocal: Community partners and students teach and learn from each other

    Making a Difference: Service-learning activities meet real needs

Service-Learning at APU

Organize for Excellence
The center, as an academic unit, is unique in its dependence on the skill and commitment of both undergraduate and graduate students to organize, manage, and ensure quality service-learning experiences across the campus.

“Each activity I have helped facilitate has taught me to put the needs of others before my own. Through participating in service-learning, I feel better prepared to make a positive impact.”
- Tiffanie Montgomery, undergraduate service-learning advocate

Empower Students
The center, as a member of National Campus Compact, enables students to move from theory to practice, preparing them for a lifetime of learning, service, and civic engagement.

“Instead of simply reading about marketing research in a textbook, our class got to do real marketing research for city planners and present our findings to them.”
- Megan Klingensmith, marketing major

Build Community
The center facilitates collaboration between the university and the community, with other institutions of higher education, and across academic disciplines.

“The greatest benefit has been the development of trust, understanding, and friendship between the senior citizens and APU students, two important groups of our community that otherwise would not interact.”
- Heath Hamilton, recreation superintendent for the Azusa Senior Center

Serve Faculty
The center assists faculty in integrating a service-learning component in their course curriculum that develops service opportunities, trains and orients students, assists in reflection and evaluation, and supports research and publication.

“It continues to be a highlight of the class, helping students learn through real case scenarios. Service-learning reinforces the classroom experience as legitimate.”
- Jim Thompson, Ed.D., art professor

Enhance Scholarship
The center promotes APU’s culture of scholarship throughout both campus and community by learning, using, and sharing knowledge gained from service-learning through conference presentations, undergraduate and graduate research, faculty publications, and evaluation research.

“My experiences guiding my students in service-learning have energized my own research and writing to discover more ways service-learning can support my students’ learning.”
- Karen Sorensen, M.A., journalism professor