Academic Service-Learning for Students

Academic Service-Learning (ASL) helps students gain a better understanding of course content by putting it into practice. Service-learning engages students in real-life settings, working on community issues to connect classroom learning with societal issues. An effective service-learning course involves students in a meaningful community project combined with reflection to process the learning gained from field experience.
"Service has characterized my time at Elon, and has provided me the lens through which I now view the world. Through service-learning classes I've taken both domestically and abroad, I have learned about systemic oppression, the social institutions that shape our lives, and the complex interactions between individual, community, and society. Most importantly, I have learned what true partnership means, how to work in a community, and how to honor local knowledge and expertise. Service-learning has been an extremely instrumental tool in my learning; it has allowed me to apply theoretical frameworks to real world experiences, and has given me a much broader and deeper perspective of the helping professions."
-Cat Palmer '15
View our community agency map to explore our local community partners.
Questions about Academic Service-Learning? Email us!

Expectations of Service-Learning

The Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement has worked closely with professors and the community to make arrangements for service-learning projects. Agency partners expect students to fulfill obligations of assignments while providing needed service to their organization.


Students will:

  • attend the agency’s orientation session
  • contact the agency to schedule hours and notify them of any scheduling changes
  • keep track of service learning hours and turn in a signed validation form at the end of the semester
  • contribute positively to the mission of the organization
  • reflect on what they are learning from the experience
  • discuss any concerns about their experience with the agency partner, the  professor, or the Kernodle Center
  • continually represent themselves, the Kernodle Center, and Elon in a positive manner and engage respectfully with all community members
  • consistently uphold Elon’s academic and social honor codes

The Kernodle Center will:

  • assign students to agency partners based on schedules and preferences
  • provide students with contact information and a basic description of their agency partner
  • serve as a liaison between the student, agency partner and faculty member regarding the service project
  • record student service hours on their Elon Experiences Transcript

The agency partner will:

  • provide students an orientation to their organization, including information on their mission and structure
  • arrange for opportunities that will provide for a deep and rich learning experience

Where’s the “learning” in service-learning?

Individual professors have their own methods of integrating service-learning into the classroom. These may be direct, such as making a brochure, or indirect, such as the experience as a whole. There also will be times when students will have to dig deeper to process and understand the connection between their experience and the classroom material.
It may not always be clear for students at first what they should be learning from their service-learning experience. After all, life isn’t as neat and perfect as textbooks make it sound. This is why reflection is important. Students need to spend some time thinking about what they learn about the organization, the social issue, themselves and their class. Often, students find that the experience, or the lesson learned from it, was not what they expected.