Howard Community College faculty and staff can get involved in the service learning program by integrating a service learning component into one of their courses or acting as an advisor on an Alternative Break Trip.
Service learning has been identified as a high-impact educational practice by the American Association of Community Colleges.
As a teaching method, service learning's impact comes from its classic combination of volunteer service, academic instruction, and critical reflection, which helps students develop a deep understanding of course content and an enhanced feeling of civic responsibility.
According to a study conducted by the American Association of Community Colleges, students who participated in service learning scored statistically higher in five dominant learning outcome areas including critical thinking, communication, career and teamwork, civic responsibility, and academic development and educational success. At HCC, class sections that feature a service learning component routinely experience higher student success and lower student withdrawal rates than course average.
Interested in incorporating a service learning component into your course? Learn more about integration strategies and how to submit an integration request on the other tabs found on this page.
Interested in acting as an advisor on an Alternative Break Trip? Email us to find out more about the responsibilities of and requirements for alternative break advisors.
How can service learning be employed in your course?
When integrating service learning into a course, faculty need to first consider the content they want to teach and the learning objective they want to achieve. From there, faculty work collaboratively with service learning staff members to choose an integration model and design the learning experience. Most service learning courses use one of four course integration models:
- Direct Service, Self-Select Placement: Students select a placement site from a list of course-approved community partners, complete a designated number of volunteer service hours and interact directly with the community.
- Direct Service, Episodic: As a class or small group, students volunteer with a community partner for one volunteer shift. Some courses may choose to use a series of different episodic experiences in order to best complement the course material.
- Special Project, Indirect Service: As a class, students meet a designated community need by completing a specific project that is provided to or executed in collaboration with a community partner.
- Special Project, Community Education: As a class, students educate the campus and/or community about a pivotal topic that meets community-identified needs.
Ready to get started with Service Learning?
Submitting a service learning integration proposal during the integration request period is the first step to incorporating a service learning component into a course at HCC.
Proposal Request Periods
There are two service learning proposal request periods at HCC each academic year. Request periods are announced via email to the faculty and adjunct faculty distribution lists and last approximately two weeks. Fall semester integration requests are accepted in May and spring semester integration requests are accepted in October.
Prepare A Proposal
Before submitting a course integration proposal, think through the primary elements of service learning pedagogy: course content, volunteer service, and reflection. An overview of the entire integration process can be found on the Faculty Course Integration Process Outline. For the proposal, faculty only need to provide a general description of their vision for the desired service learning course integration.
Proposals are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Established, successful integrations receive priority in the review and selection process. However, new integrations have been accepted each semester. Many elements are considered when determining whether or not a proposal can be accepted, including the potential impact on student learning, the students’ ability to meet a community need, the staff/faculty resources required to support the project, the presence of the community voice, and the quality of proposed pedagogical practice. Faculty are notified via email within four weeks of the proposal submission deadline regarding the outcome of their request.
After a proposal is accepted, the faculty member will work collaboratively with service learning staff members to fully develop the service learning integration during the months leading up to the start of the semester. All course integration elements must be finalized no later than two weeks prior to the start of the academic term.
What is the college's policy on Service Learning?
The process of engaging students in local and global community-based learning experiences is multifaceted. Howard Community College has multiple offices and staff members that work in partnership with faculty members and community organizations to facilitate such endeavors. It is necessary for faculty to collaborate with the appropriate offices and staff members when developing and implementing community-based learning experiences for students to ensure the college's high standard for student safety, pedagogical effectiveness, and community relations.
The Center for Service Learning enhances academic and co-curricular learning through the integration of service learning, a method of instruction where students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that relates directly to content-specific course learning objectives, meets established community needs and provides structured opportunities for student reflection. Faculty interested in engaging students in academic service learning should work collaboratively with the Center for Service Learning to design a curricular integration that reflects national best practices.