To help the campus better understand what Service-Learning is (and is not), the Community of Service-Learning Faculty Fellows crafted a definition for Service-Learning for Purdue University. Besides clarity of purpose, such a definition is needed for the campus to appropriately note what role Service-Learning activities play in the promotion and tenure process, and for eligibility when applying for external service-engagement grants. This definition was approved by the Educational Policy Committee of the University Faculty Senate and Interim Provost Vic Lechtenberg in December 2007.
Service-Learning, a subset of service-engagement, is a course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students:
- Participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs;
- Use knowledge and skills directly related to a course or discipline; and
- Reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain
- further understanding of course content,
- a broader appreciation of the discipline, and
- an enhanced sense of personal values and civic responsibility.
Another frequently referenced definition of Service-Learning is depicted in the table below. Each type of program across the top emphasizes service and/or learning based on who the primary intended beneficiary is. A visual diagram of this definition can be seen here.
|Primary Intended Beneficiary||Recipient||Recipient AND Provider||Provider|
|Primary Focus||Service||Service AND Learning||Learning|
|Intended Educational Purposes||Civic and Ethical Development||Academic and Civic Development||Career and Academic Development|
|Integration with Curriculum||Peripheral||Integrated||Co-Curricular/ Supplemental|
|Nature of Service Activity||Based on a Social Cause||Based on Academic Discipline||Based on an Industry or Career|
Source: Furco, Andrew. "Is Service-Learning Really Better Than Community Service? A Study of High School Service Program Outcomes." In Service-Learning: The Essence of the Pedagogy, edited by Andrew Furco and Shelly Billig. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing, 2002.