UT Tyler

Office of Leadership & Service

Getting Started with Service Learning

The Office of Leadership & Service and the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation work to support faculty in the use of this important pedagogy and to encourage greater community engagement on campus. Throughout the year, these two entities will offer a variety of professional development opportunities for faculty, including individual meetings, interdisciplinary project planning, a faculty reflection series, new faculty group conversations, community-faculty roundtable discussions, faculty field trips into the community, workshop opportunities, and more.

Registration for Official Service-Learning Course

If you want your course to be recognized as an official service-learning course, please fill out the approval form. You can deliver this form to the Office of Leadership & Service in UC 3400, or email it to us. Deadline for Spring/Summer Courses: October 23, 2015.

For submitting the form you will receive a new GiveBack Service-Learning t-shirt. If your course is approved you will receive a certificate, as well as having your course designated as a service-learning course in the course catalogue and in MyUTTyler.

Deciding to Use Service Learning

To incorporate service learning effectively, you must be intentional about why and how you want to use it in your course. A good place to start is to examine your motives, hopes, and goals:

  • What are some of your reasons for wanting to incorporate service activities into your teaching? Which of your reasons are most important to you? Which are least important?
  • What changes would you like to see occur in your students by incorporating service learning instructional activities in your course?
  • If you successfully implement Service Learning pedagogy in this course, how would it alter the course? What would you need to do to make sure the course alterations are positive? Are you willing to change the course somewhat?
  • What skills, knowledge, resources, values do you have which will assist you to incorporate Service Learning pedagogy? What more do you need?
  • To what extent are the objectives of service learning compatible or incompatible with the needs and values of students in your department?
  • What knowledge, skill, interests should students possess to use service learning in this course? Are there categories of students who would be better off not choosing the service option?
  • What, if any, controversial topics may come up as a result of students being out in the community? How do you anticipate dealing with these potentially “hot” issues?
  • How do you feel about the possibility that students may be exposed to a few more risks being in the community than if they were sitting in the library writing a research paper?

Designing the Course - The Course Planning Worksheet

If you think you may want to try service learning in your course, click here for an explanation of how to get started. On this page you will find a link to an electronic copy of the Course Planning Worksheet and helpful hints on planning for a Service Learning course and completing the worksheet.

What Next? The Logistics of a Service Learning Course

If you are strongly considering integrating service learning in your course, click here for information on choosing placements for your course, altering your syllabus, and creating service learning guidelines for your students.

The Community-Classroom Connection

Sometimes faculty worry that they know much less about the community than their students do. If you feel this way, or suspect that you may when teaching your first service learning course, click here for some ways to learn more and for ideas on bringing the community to the classroom, and/or vice versa.

Evaluating Learning and Helping Students Make the Connection

Some Service Learners don’t seem to naturally know how to extract from their placements the learning they need for their courses. With help, however, they grasp the idea of self-directed learning quite well. Click here for suggestions on facilitating in-class reflection and grading the service learning component fairly.

Possible Problem Situations

While we don’t expect major difficulties, sometimes situations arise with service learners that are troubling to faculty. Click here for the situations we hear most often, with some suggested responses.


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