Office of Civic Engagement

Service Learning Classes

An established high-impact practice, the integration of civic engagement through service learning enables students to apply their knowledge of a given subject to applicable areas in the community, and thus begin to see how they can be effective agents in their communities.

Service learning is "A teaching method that promotes student learning through active participation in meaningful and planned service experiences in the community that are directly related to course content. Through reflective activities, students enhance their understanding of course content, general knowledge, sense of civic responsibility, self-awareness and commitment to the community." (Best Practices, CSU (PDF))

A class is considered "Service Learning" if it meets these three criteria:

  1. Relevant and Meaningful Service with the Community: The service provided within the community agency must be relevant and meaningful to all stakeholder parties.
  2. Enhance Academic Learning: The addition of relevant and meaningful service with the community must not only serve the community but also enhance student academic learning in the course.
  3. Purposeful Civic Learning: The addition of relevant and meaningful service with the community must not only serve the community and enhance student academic learning in the course, but also directly and intentionally prepare students for active civic participation in a diverse democratic society. (Adapted from: Resource Guide for Faculty (PDF))

How do faculty benefit from service-learning?

  • Integrates teaching and research to generate scholarship on teaching (teacher-scholar).
  • Creates an environment to engage and motivate students.
  • Promotes demonstrated knowledge of academic material and applications.
  • Fosters faculty awareness and community involvement. (Cal Poly Pomona)

Interested in creating or revising a service-learning course?

For assistance with creating or revising a service-learning course, please contact Civic Engagement at

Looking for a community partner to collaborate with?

Designating Courses Civic Engagement & Service Learning

Courses are given an "S-designation" if they include some elements of civic engagement. This designation is awarded through a formal application process designating the course as an S course in the catalog. We welcome you to apply for S-Designation.

Risk Management Steps

If you want your students to participate in activities off campus, certain steps must be followed to comply with University Risk Management procedures. Civic Engagement staff can help you navigate the process, contact us at for support.