Service-learning means using what you learn in the classroom to solve real-life problems in your community in a way that helps both you and the community. Though service-learning, you not only learn the practical applications of your studies, you become an actively contributing citizen and community member through the service you perform.
Service-learning can involve a group of students, a classroom or an entire school. Students build character and become active participants as they work with others in their school and community to create service projects in areas such as education, public safety, and the environment.
Here are three examples of service-learning chosen from the UW Colleges curriculum:
SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology
Pairs of students are assigned to participate in one activity of about two hours at a local senior center where they help guide life-enhancement activities for resident. The experience not only helps the residents, but leads the students to understand and explore stereotypes about the elderly and the dynamics of inter-generational interaction
EDU 220: Education in a Pluralistic Society
This course is an introduction to the societal and multicultural complexities to American education. The basic goals of the course are to foster an understanding of how values, biases and their causes, communication and conflict resolution have shaped the educational foundations in the United States— and to understand complex relations to social constructs such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, poverty, and nation. This course utilizes civic engagement and service learning; special emphasis will be placed on thinking critically about culture, and on the application of ideas raised in class to our lives outside of the classroom.
BIO 191: Environmental Science
A contemporary study of the natural world through the human perspective. Emphasis on humans as a modifying force in the biophysical environment, including selected topics in ecological principles, pollution, population biology, and environmental management. The primary objective of this course is to develop a foundation in environmental science that will enable you to understand the inherent value of ecosystems and the impact humans have on their environment. Students will engage in service-learning activities to better understand how we influence the environment. Service-learning in this course provides an opportunity to become engaged with the community and address real local environmental issues; we will focus primarily on environmental issues related to food and agriculture. A solid foundation in environmental science, including service in the community, will provide you with the ability to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and interpret information and data from various contexts to understand environmental issues and form opinions.
Service-learning can take many forms, including internships, and can be applied in a variety of situations depending on the needs of the student and the partnering organization or community. Service-learning can have a tremendous impact on students' growth, and our community partners enjoy and appreciate the knowledge our students can being to their organizations.
UW Colleges Contact
Dr. Michael C. Jurmu
UW Colleges Service-Learning Coordinator
Associate Professor of Geography and Geology, UW-Fond du Lac
Dr. Michael C. Jurmu