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Jan and Bud Richter Center

Module One: Is Service-Learning Right For You?

In this Video: President John Welty, Associate Provost Ellen Junn, and Dr. Ben Boone from the Department of Music provide service learning testimonials

Students on a Service ProjectService-learning stems from the widely accepted and research proven belief that an individual will learn best when they are actively engaged in the learning process.  Therefore, service-learning shares many features with other experiential learning approaches, including field work and internships.  However, service-learning is unique in that it combines meaningful community service with related academic content, and ties the two together with critical analysis typically called “reflection.”

Service-learning is not the same as volunteerism, but it does include some identifiable service to the community.  This often takes the form of direct service to a specific group or person.  However, the service can also take the form of research or some other indirect service.  Furthermore, service-learning typically involves partnering with a community organization, such as a nonprofit, school, government organization or other not-for-profit community group.

This module includes:

•  Definitions of service-learning

•  An article by Dr. Andrew Furco, Service-Learning: A Balanced Approach to Experiential Education of UC Berkeley which highlights how service-learning is similar, yet different from other forms of service and experiential education. 

• A history of community engagement and service-learning and CSU milestones.

• A history of service-learning at Fresno State.

•  A short essay on the value of service-learning in higher education

Incorporating service-learning into my public relations classes was a natural fit. ... Seeing my students have those 'lightbulb' moments -- when they really understand that their work is making an impact -- is priceless. When they understand that they can use their knowledge to make the world a better place -- it's magical.  

Betsy Hays, Professor, Mass Communication and Journalism – Public Relations