Office of Civic Engagement

Service Learning

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.

The CSU System Center for Community Engagement provides a taxonomy to classify student-centered approaches to community-engaged learning. The Chancellor's Office defines service-learning as one type of CEL which must include all six essential elements from the CEL taxonomy. The CEL Framework based on this taxonomy will be utilized by CSU faculty and campus Community Engagement offices to identify where in the spectrum of CEL a course falls and will result in the assigning of one of two attributes: service-learning (CSLI) or curricular community-engaged learning (CCEL). Both the CCEL Taxonomy and Framework support the CSU's systemwide effort to better gather data of community-engaged learning experiences taking place across all 23 CSU institutions.

Assigning Attributes to Courses for Community-Engaged Learning (CCEL) & Service Learning (CSLI)

When faculty complete the Community Engaged Learning Survey, they will be assigned an attribute based on their answers. It is possible that the survey will determine that the course is not community-engaged and therefore does not warrant a CCEL or CSLI attribute. The surveys will be completed on a regular basis to update the course attributes. These courses will be cross-referenced with Collaboratory to produce more robust data about the community engagement. All courses that have a CSLI or CCEL attribute must be verified by entering the course-related activities into Collaboratory.(opens in new window)

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.

Looking for a community partner to collaborate with?

  • For a listing of official community partners, visit Collaboratory.
  • For assistance with selecting a new community partner for your course, please contact Civic Engagement at

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.