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Frequently Asked Questions

In this Section:

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

What is "reflection?"
Reflection is critical thinking. Structured reflection activities such as journal writing provide a means through which the relationship between service and course content can be studied and interpreted. In addition, reflection can encourage students to appreciate their future roles as socially responsible and civically engaged professionals.

What is the difference between service-learning and community service?
Service-learning, like community service, seeks to make a valuable contribution to the community. Unlike community service, however, service-learning is designed to promote the curricular goals of a specified course through the application of classroom learning in service settings. Community service that is not integrated into the curriculum is not service-learning; it is simply service.

Are internships service-learning?
Internships that come at the end of a course of study and are not directly connected to an academic class are considered “pre-professional” not service-learning.

Who benefits from service-learning?
Students, community partners, and faculty all benefit from service-learning. Students acquire enhanced learning through a guided service project that allows them to apply their knowledge and skills to real world situations. Community partners gain from the developing expertise of APU students who provide them with organizational, social, and technical services. Faculty pedagogy prospers by the implementation of experience-based learning projects within course curricula.

What responsibilities do community partners undertake when accepting service-learning students?
The first responsibility of community partners is to provide a service opportunity that complements student academic learning. The second responsibility is to provide adequate and consistent on-site assistance to APU students and project feedback to faculty.

Can students initiate service-learning?
Students, who desire the kind of experiential learning that comes from service-learning should encourage their professors and department chairs to initiate new service-learning classes.

What responsibilities does the Center for Academic Service-Learning and Research undertake in offering academic service-learning?
The center is responsible for arranging and coordinating the service project. We assist faculty in selecting projects that are appropriate for their courses. We also provide logistical support to faculty and students engaged in service, maintain contact with community partners, and help both faculty and community partners to troubleshoot issues that might arise during the course of the project. In addition, the center conducts service-learning student orientations, and assists faculty in developing their own reflection assignments.

Does the Center for Academic Service-Learning and Research offer professional development opportunities for faculty?
Each spring, the center offers training for faculty. We also encourage faculty to join us at presenting at service-learning conferences. The center encourages faculty publication and research in the area of service-learning. In addition, the center annually grants the $1,000 Cornerstone Award to the service-learning faculty member who has most clearly integrated Christ, scholarship, community, and service.

How do service-learning hours relate to APU’s required 120 ministry credits?
All students successfully completing approved service-learning courses (designated with an SL in class registration materials) will automatically be credited with the credits as specified in the syllabus.