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California State University, Fullerton

University Policy Statement

UPS 411.600


California State University, Fullerton expects its students to develop a sense of social responsibility beneficial to the community. Service learning involves students in community service linked to classroom learning, and provides the opportunity to develop or strengthen a service ethic.

Through service learning, students broaden their academic knowledge and personal development by participating in community based activities that earn academic credit. Service learning experiences vary depending upon the desired learning outcome, the discipline(s) involved, the amount of time spent by the student at the service site, and the nature of the assignments.

Along with other graded assignments service learning is used to strengthen learning outcomes in upper and lower division courses across all disciplines. It is separate and distinct from internships (see UPS 320.002), which seek to integrate academic work from an entire major with practical experience in work settings relevant to that discipline. Unlike the intern, the service learning student volunteers in a service-oriented organization to develop a service ethic and to gain a deeper understanding of the material offered in a specific course. Other activities in the course provide the academic context for the service-learning component.

This document provides guidelines under which service-learning activities can be offered for academic credit.

Service learning is used within a course to clarify, illustrate or stimulate additional thought about topics covered in the classroom, while at the same time encouraging students to develop a habit of service to the community. Service learning activities shall: be a component of a university course and be described in the syllabus; credit shall be granted only for activities so described and approved by the instructor in advance; integrate community and classroom learning; meet community needs and be identified in conjunction with community organizations; provide structured opportunities, including writing assignments, for students to reflect on the connections between their service experiences and the course objectives; normally, be evaluated on the studentís ability to integrate the academic and community experience, not merely on performance of community activities; be no more than 1/3 of the courseís work and grade; be appropriate to the studentís academic preparation; take place only at service sites evaluated and approved by the course instructor; be weighted on the basis of no fewer than 40 hours of community service per semester unit of credit (e.g., 40 hours would be the appropriate amount of community activity on which to base 1/3 of the grade for a 3 unit class; or 20 hours for 1/6 of the grade); and be evaluated by the student, community supervisor and the instructor.

Effective Date: October 30, 2000 [New UPS]

Content Contact:
Judy Botelho
(562) 951-4749
Technical Contact:

Last Updated: April 29, 2008