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California State University, Los Angeles
Service Learning Definition
(Senate: 1/22/02; President: 2/26/02)
Consistent with the special mission at Cal State L.A. to provide
an educational experience that recognizes and takes full advantage
of diversity, while emphasizing the knowledge, experience, and ethical
concerns common to all people, service learning at California State
University, Los Angeles:
- is a teaching and learning strategy that provides students
with organized and meaningful learning experience outside the classroom
design to enhance their understanding of information, knowledge
and theoretical principles shared in the classroom;
- is also defined as a pedagogical model that links course
content with a community service component that is designed to address
the needs identified by the community whether local or global; and
- has, as an integral component, the use of reflective activities
intended to integrate course content and skills and knowledge with
community involvement and to develop or strengthen students’
commitment to social responsibility and civic engagement.
Criteria For Service-Learning Course Designation
All courses approved for a service learning designation must address
the following criteria:
- The service experience must relate course content to clearly
articulated course objectives and student learning outcomes, which
helps to foster or strengthen the students’ awareness of
social responsibility and sense of civic duty.
- The service learning option or requirement must link course content
with a community service component that addresses a need identified
by the participating community.
- Since knowledge from the course informs the service experiences
with which the students are involved, service opportunities must be
appropriate for the course.
- Service learning courses must provide a method to assess the
learning derived from the service, and academic credit must be based
on learning outcomes—not the service itself.
- Structured and organized opportunities for critical reflection
of the learning gained through the service experience and how the
service relates to the course content must be evident.
- Number of hours devoted to the service learning component must
be specific and sufficient to provide meaningful service while also
meeting course objectives and student learning outcomes.
- Opportunities must be available for community partners to provide
input into the evaluation process of students’ community service
and activities within their agencies.
--Adapted from the Lowell Bennion Community Service
Center at the University of Utah