Center for Community Engagement & Service

FAQS

Student FAQ

What is Service-Learning
A.

An academic service-learning course integrates thoughtful community service as a required assignment that supports the academic learning. The service work is usually off-campus in the local community and may involve work outside class time. Check with the faculty member who teaches the course for more information about time, requirements, etc.

How do I find out about service-learning courses at PLU?
A. Check the Course Schedule for courses that have the notation "This course includes a service-learning component” after their listing. • Check with your Academic advisor • Check the Center for Public Service webpage under Service-Learning/Students/Courses • Call (x7652) or stop into the Center for Public Service, Ramstad 116. If you think a course may include a service-learning component but it isn’t listed anywhere, check with the faculty member who teaches it.
Is service-learning required for graduation?
A. No. Students are encouraged to take at least one service-learning course before they graduate but it is not required for graduation.
Are there any study-away service-learning courses?
A. Yes. Go to the Study-Away fair, check with the Wang Center, or check with the Center for Public Service to find out more about study-away service-learning courses.
Does my service-learning work count for my grade?
A. In most courses, yes. Check with the faculty member teaching the course. Check the syllabus for expectations.
What is the point of a service-learning assignment?
A. Research has shown that a service-learning assignment, sometimes called a “lived text,” enriches your learning by giving you insights into your course topic from an “on-the-ground” perspective. It actively involves you in situations that illuminate what you study in class.
Is there service-learning at PLU outside of academic courses?
A. Co-curricular service-learning: Academic service-learning’s major distinction is its focus on thoughtful, critical reflection about the relationship between your service experience and the theories you learn in class. Similarly, there may be non-academic community service work or volunteering you do that will include some kind of thoughtfully-designed group reflection, such as projects organized by the Volunteer Center (Into the Streets), projects led by Student Involvement and Leadership for First Year students (On-the-Road), projects organized by your RA, the Alternative Spring Break trips, and more. These non-academic service projects with critical reflection are sometimes called “co-curricular service-learning.”

Community Partners FAQ

What is Service-Learning?
A. An academic service-learning course integrates thoughtful community service as a required assignment that supports the academic goals of the course. The service assignment, developed in partnership with a community organization and engaged over time, can include any work that both responds to a demonstrated community need and supports the goals of the course. The service work is usually off-campus in the local community.
What is the difference between students who volunteer at my organization and those who are serving as part of a service-learning course?
A. Student volunteers work for you in positions where you need them. They nearly always learn personally from their work but may not have any formal reflection opportunities. • Students who volunteer in connection with a service-learning course work for you in positions where you need them; they, too, nearly always learn personally from their experience. However, in addition, they are guided by faculty in some kind of formal reflection (journal, papers, films, presentations, discussions, speakers) that helps them understand the course material in the context of the work they do for you, and likewise helps them understand the work they do for you in the context of what they are learning in class. It is a win-win situation.
What is the difference between an internship and a service-learning volunteer?
A. An internship is a more in-depth, advanced, individual assignment, usually based on building a student’s already-existing skills in a particular discipline or profession. The internship earns its own academic credits. Service-learning is embedded into an academic course with a focus on the way that the service experience and the academic learning interact with each other maximizing the benefit of both. The academic credit is for the total course, not just the service experience.
What is expected of me if the students who volunteer are from a service-learning course?
A. You are encouraged to share as much information about your organization as you can with the students so they can understand the issues you are addressing. You are encouraged to ask questions about the course material so that you can understand what the students are learning in class that relates to their work with you. Sometimes you will be given the syllabus by the faculty member. You may be asked to sign a simple “service-agreement” that outlines the expectations of the student, of your organization, and of the faculty member. You are encouraged to expose the student to work that is meaningful related to their learning goals while at the same time being valuable to your organization.
What should I expect from the students who do their service-learning with our organization?
A. Students are expected to conduct themselves as responsibly as any worker in your organization would. Students are expected to understand and abide by any special policies observed by your organization. Students are encouraged to ask questions (where it is not intrusive) and learn as much as possible from you about your organization and the work that you do, and why. Students are expected to maintain strict confidentiality about their work with the people at your organization.
Who do I contact with questions about the students?
A.

The faculty member who teaches the course. The Director of PLU’s Center for Public Service.

Is it possible to request service-learning students for my organization?
A. Yes. Contact the Center for Public Service at PLU.
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