Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Who benefits from service-learning?

Students, community partners, and faculty 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.

How do faculty develop a service-learning course?

Faculty interested in developing a service-learning course should contact the Center for Academic Service-Learning. The center is available to collaborate in the design of projects, equip faculty with resources, establish and sustain community partnerships, and provide logistical support.

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.

What is a Service-Learning Advocate? (SLA)

Undergraduate Service-Learning Advocates represent the center by working with faculty and community partners. SLAs conduct service-learning orientations, ensure student agreement forms are completed, liaise with faculty and community partners, collect and report evaluations, and provide logistical support as needed.

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 courses.

Can academic service-learning count toward the undergraduate university service credit requirement?

Upon professor verification, successful completion of academic service-learning requirements will be credited toward the students’ service credit requirement at the end of the semester.