Service Learning Program
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 or groups within Wake Tech receive valuable assistance from students and benefit from collaboration with Wake Tech. A service project on campus strengthens our Wake Tech community.
All required online forms for faculty and students can be found using the following links/downloadable files:
- Service Learning project request (due October 17 for Fall semester and March 10 for Spring semester)
- Service Learning tracking log (download to start recording your hours)
- Tracking log submission/program evaluation (due December 5 for Fall semester and April 27 for Spring semester)
- Reflection assignment (due December 5 for Fall semester and April 27 for Spring semester – possibly earlier at the instructor's request)
- Study group leader/co-leader reflection form (due December 5 for Fall semester and April 27 for Spring semester – possibly earlier at the instructor's request)
- Student cord request form (due two weeks before commencement if you have completed three service-learning projects)
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 any pre-service requirements. Students can check their course syllabus or contact their instructor to find out if a course offers service-learning opportunities; if not, students can request this option. Program coordinators are happy to help.
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
- 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
- Help students recognize the connection between learning and service
(This information can be added to course syllabi by faculty who offer the Service Learning option.)
Benefits of participation
Faculty can benefit personally and professionally from integrating service learning into courses by the following:
- 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
- Provide firsthand knowledge of community issues and opportunities to be more involved
Students in service-learning classes can benefit academically, professionally and personally through the following:
- 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 in the following ways:
- 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 misconceptions
- 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, email a Service Learning coordinator: