UMass CESL promotes learning for life-long, engaged citizenship, partnering with communities on and off campus to work collectively for a more just society.

What is Service-Learning?

Service-Learning integrates service and learning to enhance both.  

Service-Learning integrates community engagement (service) into course content and course learning goals. 
Service can take the form of either direct serivce or projects designed with and for community organizations, providing reciprocal benefits both to the community and student learning.  
 consolidates students' learning from their service experience.  
Preparation before students ever leave the campus should include thoughtful inquiry into the social identities of the students and of the people with whom they will work in the community, and into the issues of power, privilege, and social justice that underlie the boundaries that students may be crossing.

Service-Learning and Learning Outcomes

Through Service-Learning, students can develop knowledge, skills, attitudes, and perspectives in three different domains:  academic learning, personal learning, and civic learning.

Academic Learning

Students find that academic theories or concepts are illuminated by their experience in the community, and, conversely, students find that their experience in the community is explained through relevant theories and concepts. Students are led to question and explore more deeply academic theories or concepts when they don't appear to fit with students' experience in the community.

Personal Learning

Challenges encountered in community settings may make students more aware of their own strengths, limitations, and core values.  Challenges encountered in community settings may lead students to develop initiative, self-discipline, and skills of communication.

Civic Learning

Students will learn:
to take the perspectives of community members who differ from them in race, social class, or other aspects of social identity

  • to work collaboratively toward shared goals
  • to recognize their capacity to make an impact on social problems