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Service-Learning Guide

Service Learning Guide

Service-Learning and Civic Engagement (SLCE) Service-Learning Guide

We welcome your participation in this nationally recognized pedagogy. In our process of institutionalizing this program at Norfolk State University we have set up certain guidelines and user friendly forms that can be printed off our website for monitoring and accountability purposes. This guide is designed as a tool to use in planning, reflecting and evaluating a quality service-learning opportunities for your students.

Requesting the Booklet

To receive our Service-Learning Guide booklet, email us at nsuslc@nsu.edu . Examples of Course syllabi and Course development guides are also available upon request.

Best Practices

Best Practices for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement must include the following elements:

Preparation is the key to starting a successful program. Determine the needs of the surrounding community and begin to plan to alleviate one or more of them. Seek out community organizations that could be of assistance in helping you accomplish these goals.

Action is where community service comes in. This is the step where visible results are produced for the community to see, earning the students a positive position in the eyes of community members. Action is a key component to service-learning which allows students to see their role outside of the classroom. They are no longer students but active community citizens.

Reflection is what takes Service-Learning beyond community service. Genuine reflection uses various forms of inquiry to contemplate experiences including roundtable discussions, keeping journals, writing for school/local publications, creating videos, etc. Students think about what they have done and how it has made them feel, conveying worth their experience. This step is central to students developing an understanding of how change occurs.

Evaluation is conducted to assess both community impact and student learning outcome. It also serves as benchmarks for improving the quality of the service-learning activity.

Celebration is the key to student ownership. Communicating what they know in the form of presentations, publications, awards, ceremonies, etc. is an excellent way to ensure students retain knowledge learned during the project. Be sure to allow students to take part in the planning of these events.


A faculty/staff development workshop can be arranged through the service-learning center for in-depth guidance on these Best practices. Once the service has been selected you would identify the need and determine the specific service goals.