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The CSU has made tremendous strides in institutionalizing service-learning. There are many successes to be applauded, many challenges to be tackled, and many innovations and resources to be replicated.

In general, the system has successfully addressed Goal One, to develop an infrastructure to support community service-learning. Although variation does exist from campus to campus, most campuses have secured a solid foundation. Collaboration and information sharing should continue to occur to provide support for campuses that still need to develop infrastructures.

Goal Two, which builds faculty support, needs a great deal of attention. It is necessary to transform the role service-learning has in the institutional culture. It can no longer be sustained by the individual efforts of sporadic, disconnected, or isolated faculty who are tremendously committed to experiential learning. Service-learning must be sustained by institutional commitment, an understanding of the benefits of service-learning pedagogy, coordinated efforts across departments and colleges, and deeply embedded rewards for faculty involvement. Many campuses are well on their way to achieving such support. However, there is a great deal to develop. Some efforts will need to take place on individual campuses, understanding that the efforts must be shaped by institutional cultures. Other efforts can occur system-wide, a result of shared vision, resources, and creativity.

Progress in Goal Three, to build student and community agency support and involvement, falls somewhere in the middle of the progress scale. Goal Three has not been fully realized, but it is well past the infancy stages. Both students and community partners are vital participants in the institutionalization process and in service-learning pedagogy. Systems must be in place to systematically involve them and utilize them. Campuses will need to refine the collaborations they have already created, more than create new structures, in order to achieve Goal Three.

To continue the process of institutionalizing community service-learning, the CSU must devote time, resources, and creative thought in systemic ways. The CSU has played a critical leadership role in the nation, with the development of the Strategic Plan for Community Service-Learning. As the 21st century approaches, the CSU will be poised to assume a leadership position once again, as it solidifies its service-learning infrastructures, and develops policies, resources, and processes that build support for faculty, students, and community agencies engaged in service-learning experiences.


Note: Recommendations for future directions and next steps will be discussed at the 3rd CSU colloquium on community service-learning in November 1998. Samples to accompany the ideas and innovations mentioned in this report will be included in the Resource Notebook provided at the 3rd CSU colloquium on community service-learning.


California State University. (1997). Strategic Plan for Community Service-Learning at the California State University.

Holland, B. (1997). "Analyzing Institutional Commitment to Service: A Model of Key Organizational Factors," Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 4, pp. 30 — 41.

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Last Updated: June 06, 2016