Integrating Service into the Curriculum

Service learning is a teaching method used in many Saint Louis University courses that integrates service to others into the curriculum.

By engaging in service experiences, students gain wisdom and knowledge from the community partner, who acts as a co-educator. The partner, in turn, benefits from the work provided, making it a reciprocal relationship. The students learn to apply concepts from the classroom to this experience, and by reflecting on their service, enhance the academic curriculum.

Bibliography for Service Learning in Higher Education

Sample Syllabi

Below are some samples of syllabi of professors who have included a service learning component in their classes. If you would like to have your syllabus posted, please send it to Leah Sweetman at sweetman@slu.edu.

Recommended Semester Timetable

This general outline will give you the basic steps needed for a successful service learning project in your course.

Before Semester Begins

  • Define learning objectives to connect the service project to your course.
  • Contact Leah Sweetman at 314-977-4214 or sweetman@slu.edu to discuss the course and devise a plan. The Center for Service and Community Engagement has plenty of resources to help build meaningful service into your course syllabus.
  • Meet with Leah or Bobby Wassel, 314-977-2041 or rwassel@slu.edu, to review potential community partners or utilize our Community Partners database.
  • Contact the Office of the Registrar at registrar@slu.edu to have your course designated as service learning in Banner class schedule.

Beginning of Semester

We are available to speak to your classes to provide background information on service learning, along with community partner information, reflection questions and other resources.

During Semester

  • Provide reflection opportunities relating the service to your course content including group discussions, journals, essays, art and poster presentations.
  • Monitor student participation.
  • Check in with us for any questions, concerns or for advice.

End of Semester

If the service learning project included a set number of required hours, have your students submit their service learning hours forms. Feel free to share the best reflection papers, projects or your syllabus for inclusion on this page.

Reflection Techniques

Since reflection is a key component in any service learning course, browse this section for the many different ways that your students can reflect on their service experience, and how to tie it back into your course's learning goals and objectives. Below are some documents and links for you to use as resources for reflection on the service that students perform.

Web Resources

For additional resources, please contact Leah Sweetman in the Center for Service and Community Engagement at 314-977-4214 or sweetman@slu.edu.

American Association of Colleges and Universities
The American Association of Colleges and Universities seeks to prepare students to become effective global and local citizens as they venture into an unequal but interdependent and diverse world. The association works with campuses to develop programs that help faculty and students connect scholarship to public questions. AAC&U's website provides several resources and detailed descriptions of its projects, including the Diversity Initiative, in which service-learning and campus-community partnerships play an important role, and the Center for Liberal Education and Civic Engagement, a joint initiative with Campus Compact.

American Association of Community Colleges 
The website for the American Association of Community College's service-learning project includes links to model programs at various community college campuses, general information about federal initiatives such as America Reads, and practical information about applying service-learning in the community college curriculum. The site also includes a listing of workshops and events and links to service-learning organizations.

Campus Compact
Campus Compact is a national coalition dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement, and service-learning in higher education. This comprehensive site includes resources for service-learning practitioners, including faculty, presidents, administrators, and students. It includes model programs, sample syllabi, a calendar of events, extensive links to web resources, news, information on grants and fellowships, legislation, and much more.

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health
Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) promotes health through partnerships between communities and higher educational institutions, using service-learning, community-based research, community service, and other partnership strategies. This site contains a variety of resources, including syllabi and assessment tools.

Michigan Journal of Community Service-Learning
The Michigan Journal of Community Service-Learning is a peer-reviewed academic journal containing papers written by faculty and service-learning educators on research, theory, pedagogy, and issues pertinent to the service-learning community. The site contains abstracts of MJCSL articles and information on subscribing and submitting manuscripts.

National Service-Learning Clearinghouse
This comprehensive site contains a searchable database of service-learning literature, sample service-learning projects and syllabi, information about events, and links to a variety of other service-learning resources.

University of Southern California (Service Learning Theory and Practice)
This site has a number of resources for designing a service-learning syllabus, recruiting and placing students in service-learning sites, developing reflection and evaluation tools, and much more.