Academic Service-Learning

At Elon University, service-learning is fundamentally an academic endeavor in which service is an integrated component of a course. It is a credit-bearing, experiential education approach that involves an established community partnership guided by the expertise of professors and community-based practitioners, working together with students to address community needs. The partnerships between Elon and the community engage students in service with non-profit organizations, schools, and government agencies. Under certain circumstances, academic service-learning at Elon might also include course-related work on campus that directly benefits the wider community. At Elon, academic service-learning includes the following four tenets:

  1. Direct or indirect contact between students and the community, requiring student preparation for community experiences.
  2. Engagement in projects and activities that are devoted to the public good.
  3. Service activity that is reciprocally beneficial to the community and students and is relevant to course objectives.
  4. Structured reflection that enhances student understanding of connections between course content and service.

Academic Service-Learning Designated Courses

For class-based (project-based) courses, in order to receive Service-Learning course designation and Experiential Learning Requirement credit, the project must engage students in at least 40 hours of experiential learning. These hours can include preparation, learning, and reflection, but it is recommended that 15 to 30 of these hours be completed through on-site, direct service.

For more information about teaching an Academic Service-Learning course click here.

Community Engaged Learning Courses

Classes that do not have the Service-Learning course designation, but involve a community component are known as Community Engaged Learning courses. These courses include reciprocal learning between the university and community, but do not reach the 40-hour threshold for a Service-Learning designation.

For more information about teaching a Community Engaged Learning course click here.

Faculty Development and Support

The Kernodle Center for Civic Life, in partnership with the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, offers the following opportunities to support faculty teaching Academic Service-Learning classes or courses with a community-based learning component. For more information about faculty development opportunities, click here.

  • Essentials of Service-Learning and Community Engagement Workshop
  • Communities of Practice
  • Service-Learning Scholars Program
  • Support in developing courses with a community-engaged component
  • Support in developing courses with an Academic Service-Learning designation
  • Academic Service-Learning Course Development Grants
  • Community-Based Learning Research Scholar

Community-Based Learning Applications for Faculty

Community Partnerships Initiative Grants

Through funding from the Frueauff Foundation, these mini-grants provide teams of faculty, students, and community agencies financial support to launch collaborative projects. These collaborative grants will support the development of new programs, increase the effectiveness of current programs, provide opportunities for innovative research and assessment that address the root causes of problems such as homelessness and domestic violence, and support community groups in strategic planning and problem solving. Contact Bob Frigo for more information.

Click here for the Community Partnerships Initiative Grant Application
Click here for the Community Partnerships Initiative Rolling Grant Application

Current Academic Service-Learning and Community Engaged Courses

View a current list of Academic Service-Learning and Community Engaged courses being offered


For more information about faculty resources, click here.