Service Learning Criteria

Service Learning is a form of collaborative experiential education which engages students in community volunteer and service activities using teaching, active learning, and reflection. Service Learning ALEs nurture civic responsibility, caring, and community-mindedness in order to promote a commitment to public life, ethics, and critical reasoning.


  • Service Learning ALEs should offer mutual benefit to university students and community partners.
  • Students cannot receive monetary or other compensation for the service performed (service must be a volunteer effort).
  • ALE supervisors should communicate clear expectations for students before the service learning project begins.
  • Each student must submit a critical reflection in which they describe, examine, and articulate the learning that occurred as a part of the experience.

Additional Information:

  • Projects may occur through an academic course or in a co-curricular setting,
  • Supervisors are encouraged to solicit feedback from the partner/organization served to help guide future opportunities.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

The SLOs expected from all Applied Learning Experiences are as follows:

  • Global Awareness: Students will describe how the applied learning experience expanded their views in order to contribute to a diverse global society.
  • Broader Impact: Students will describe how the overall experience has larger implications related to the discipline and beyond.

Service Learning ALEs may additionally address any or all of the following SLOs at the ALE supervisor’s discretion:

  • Diversity of Communities & Cultures: Demonstrates evidence of adjustment in own attitudes and beliefs because of working within and learning from diversity of communities and cultures. Promotes others’ engagement with diversity.
  • Analysis of Knowledge: Connects and extends knowledge from one’s own academic study to civic engagement and to one’s own participation in civic life, politics, and government.
  • Civic Identity & Commitment: Provides evidence of experience in civic-engagement activities and describes what they have learned about themselves as it relates to a reinforced and clarified sense of civic identity and continued commitment to public action.
  • Civic Communication: Tailors communication strategies to effectively express, listen, and adapt to others to establish relationships to further civic action.
  • Civic Action & Reflection: Demonstrates independent experience and shows initiative in team leadership of complex or multiple civic engagement activities, accompanied by reflective insights or analysis about the aim and accomplishments of one’s actions.
  • Civic Contexts & Structures: Demonstrates the ability and commitment to collaboratively work across and within community contexts and structures to achieve a civic aim.

(Criteria from AAC&U Civic Engagement VALUE Rubric. See all VALUE rubrics.)