Service-Learning Program

What is Service-Learning? 

Service learning is the integration of community engagement projects with student learning to provide real-world experiences that foster cultural and classroom understanding, critical thinking, and civic responsibility. 

Service learning meets the needs of adult learners by offering authentic, student-directed learning experiences as a form of experiential education that enhances the curriculum by extending learning beyond the classroom and allowing students to apply what they've learned.

 Reference: Seifer, S. D., and Connors, K., Eds. Community-Campus Partnerships for Health. Faculty Toolkit for Service-Learning in Higher Education. Scotts Valley, CA: National Service-Learning Clearinghouse, 2007.

Service Learning at Wake Tech

  • Faculty members approve service-learning opportunities that align with at least one student learning outcome for a course and assign a reflection activity.

  • Students commit to completing 10 hours of community service outside class followed by a reflection assignment determined by the instructor.  Upon completion, they receive a transcript designation indicating that they met service-learning requirements for that semester.

  • Community partners receive valuable assistance from students and benefit from collaboration with Wake Tech.  A service project on campus strengthens our Wake Tech community (in this case the “community partner” is a group within Wake Tech).


All required online forms for faculty and students can be found using the following links/downloadable files.




All Wake Tech students who are in academic good standing are eligible to participate in service-learning opportunities, provided their courses offer that option and they meet pre-service requirements, if applicable. Students can check their course syllabus or contact their instructor to find out if a course offers service-learning opportunities and if not, students can request this option.  Program coordinators are happy to help.

Mission of the Service-Learning Program

The Service-Learning Program supports Wake Tech’s mission by offering students opportunities to learn and apply skills in real-world settings while establishing lasting partnerships in their communities. 

The program promotes Wake Tech’s core values by fostering a sense of accountability to the community, respect for those served, and responsibility for using knowledge to help others; and by encouraging critical thinking about one’s life experiences, communication with others about shared goals, and collaboration to identify and address common problems. 

Service-Learning Outcomes
(the following can be added to course syllabi by faculty who offer the SL option)

Service-learning projects at Wake Tech will:

  • Contribute to one or more of the student learning outcomes established for the course;
  • Require students to perform substantive service to a group in their local communities;
  • Instill or reinforce a sense of commitment to the community;
  • Encourage students to reflect on their own roles in addressing community needs and how they relate to classroom content; and
  • Help students recognize the connection between learning and service. 

Benefits of Participation 

Faculty can benefit personally and professionally from integrating service learning into courses. Teaching with service-learning can: 

  • Encourage interactive teaching methods and reciprocal learning between students and faculty;
  • Promote active learning and engage students with different learning styles;
  • Help students achieve core competencies and student learning outcomes for the course;
  • Develop students' civic and leadership skills;
  • Attract highly-motivated and engaged students;
  • Add new insights and dimensions to class discussions;
  • Provide networking opportunities among faculty in different disciplines;
  • Foster relationships between faculty and community organizations, opening other opportunities for collaborative work; and
  • Provide firsthand knowledge of community issues and opportunities to be more involved.

Students in service-learning classes can benefit academically, professionally, and personally, as follows: 

  • Increase understanding of the subject;
  • Gain hands-on experience, with potential for future internships or employment;
  • Gain a Service-Learning distinction to add to the resume (and official notation on the college transcript, to help stand out on transfer applications);
  • Develop and enhance skills in communication, collaboration, and leadership, among others;
  • Explore or cement values and beliefs;
  • Have opportunities to act on values and beliefs;
  • Develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills;
  • Grow to understand the diversity of cultures and communities;
  • Learn more about social issues and their root causes;
  • Improve ability to handle ambiguity and be open to change – become more flexible;
  • Apply skills, interests, and values to potential career pathways, or learn more about certain fields;
  • Connect with professionals and community members to learn from them;
  • Build a professional network for future internship and employment opportunities;

Community Partners in service-learning can benefit by:

  • Gaining additional human resources for reaching organizational goals;
  • Utilizing the skills of educated college volunteers;
  • Injecting new energy, enthusiasm, and perspectives into the organization;
  • Expanding the volunteer pool;
  • Increasing public awareness of key issues;
  • Reaching out to youth (an important part of any organization’s future support);
  • Educating students/youth about community issues and correcting any misperceptions;
  • Helping to prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s civic leaders;
  • Networking with colleagues in other organizations and agencies;
  • Identifying and accessing faculty, students, and staff. 

If you are a student or faculty member interested in doing service-learning, please contact a Service-Learning Coordinator