Service Learning at CCNY
FRequently Asked Questions from students
1. What is service-learning?
Service-learning is a structured learning experience that combines community service with explicit learning objectives, preparation, and reflection. Students involved in service-learning are expected not only to provide community service but also to learn about the context in which the service is provided, the connection between the service and their academic coursework, and their roles as citizens (Seifer, S.; Jacoby, B.).
2. How does service-learning compare with each of the following activities?
There are numerous experiential education methods used to bring about or encourage learning. Below is a general (and entirely incomplete) outline to illustrate what service-learning is and how it differs from other forms of experiential education
- Internships: Emphasizes hands-on experiences that enhances understanding of issues relevant to a specific area of study.
---may involve monetary compensation
---may or may not address community needs
---usually places minimal emphasis on students providing service to the site or agency
- Field Study: Involves co-curricular service opportunities that support, but are not formally integrated into the academic course or curriculum.
---primary focus is to increase/enhance student understanding of a particular area of study.
---may or may not address unmet community needs
- Clinical Practicums: Supervised, structured experiences in a health care facility in which students assess, plan, implement, and evaluate health care related procedures using the conceptual framework specific to their discipline. ---allows students to practice and apply theories and skills learned in the classroom.
---involves no monetary compensation.
---often mandatory for completion of related certificate and degree programs
- Service-Learning: An integration of academic study and community service, connecting classroom instruction with real-life situations.
---students make contributions to the community while using the community site as an opportunity for learning.
---emphasis is on linking the student’s projects, instruction, and/or community service with broader community awareness (citizenship)
---always involves a reflection component
---involves a triangular relationship between students, the institution, and the community and benefits all parties: ---addresses unmet community needs
3. Does service-learning increase or decrease the amount of work required for a course?
Service-learning is not an "add-on". Nor is it forced volunteerism. It is a teaching method used to achieve course objectives. Just as lectures, research, and labs are methods to achieve objectives, so too is service learning. In a sense, one could consider service learning as a different "assignment"--one that is generally given as much weight as the assignments in more traditional courses.
4. Do I receive course credit for the number of hours I complete at my service site?
No. In service learning, students should be given credit for the learning, not the service. The learning can be assessed in many ways but is typically done through an evaluation of written journals, class presentations etc. and other forms of "reflection" that integrates the service experience with the course curriculum.
5. What other service-learning courses or service-learning related opportunities exist at CCNY?
The Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies provides a number of different support programs designed to encourage faculty to develop service-learning courses and to engage more students in service-learning projects and activities. For additional information, call Genéa Steward, director of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, 212-650-8335.
Connors, K., Kirk Henry, J., and Seifer, S.D. (2000). “Improving the preparation of nursing professionals through communitycampus partnerships,” in Gott, M. (ed). Nursing Practice, Policy and Change, Radcliffe Medical Press.
Eyler, J, Giles, D., Stenson, C, Gray, C. At a Glance: "What We Know About the Effects of Service-Learning on College Students, Faculty, Institutions, and Communities", 1993-2000, Third Edition.
Gelmon, S., Holland, B., and Shinnamon, A. (1998). Health Professions Schools in Service to the Nation: Final Evaluation Report. Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, San Francisco, CA. Available at: http://www.ccph.info
Guido L. Davis Del Piccolo (8/2001); http:www.smc.edu/servicelearning/faq.html
Jacoby, B. and Associates. (1996). Service-Learning in Higher Education: Concepts and Practices. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.