Loyola University Maryland

Center for Community Service and Justice

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Service-Learning and Community-Engaged Teaching

In his 2000 address The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Higher Education, Jesuit Superior General Peter Kolvenbach, S.J., stresses that solidarity is learned through contact, not just concepts.’” Service-learning courses and other forms of community-engaged teaching at Loyola provide students with opportunities to make contact with the Baltimore community, collaborate and share knowledge, and reflect on their experiences. In doing so, we follow Kolvenbachs call for every field of study to engage with human society, human life, and the environment. Through structured, ongoing reflection, students come to understand the contributions they can make to our diverse, changing world.

Loyola students can engage the community in their classwork in the following ways.

Service-learning integrates community service with academic coursework, making community service, in effect, an additional textbook in the class. Community partners become co-educators, teaching students about community, diversity, justice, and social responsibility, and faculty integrate these lessons with their course aims, aided by ongoing personal and in-class reflection activities.

Click here to find a list of currently offered service-learning classes

Ultimately, community service enhances the course learning, and in turn, the course learning gives students service more meaning and greater impact in the community. Service-learning also provides students with hands-on experience that help them understand the causes and effects of economic inequality and racism; the experiences of marginalized populations; the interaction between individuals, communities, and institutions; and the importance of active citizenship. Service-learning can also help students learn professional skills that will advance them in future careers.

service-learning with St. Ignatius Academy

Students in Fine Arts professor Dan Schlapbach's photography course become the subject for student photographers at St. Ignatius Academy.

Service-learning courses may make participation in service mandatory for all students (designated SL) or offer it as an option that students may choose to undertake (designated SO). Service may be program-based—meaning that students participate in established service programs, often on a weekly or biweekly based, organized by community partners; or project-based, that is, undertaken as a class project defined in coordination with the community partner.

Courses use service-learning to help students understand issues including immigration, hunger, homelessness, intimate partner violence, human trafficking, youth education and mentoring, adult education and job placement, sustainability, and disability. Some examples include the following:

  • A service-learning course in Writing applies the academic study of rhetorical purpose, audience, and style to the production of a school newsletter produced with a 5th-grade class.
  • Students in a Political Science course on the Politics of Global Migration do weekly service with organizations serving refugees and asylum-seekers and write a research paper integrating their experiences with discipline-based research.
  • Students in the capstone course in Public Relations develop promotional videos and materials for non-profit organizations serving local youth, victims of human trafficking, and advocacy groups.
  • A service-learning course in Operations Management works with area food pantries to optimize intake and distribution processes.

One Question service-learning

Writing professor Andrea Leary with community partners participating in the 2015 "One Question" event organized as a service-learning activity in her WR 220 course.

In addition to designated service-learning courses, academic courses at Loyola frequently incorporate one-time service activities and advocacy projects.

How can students register for a service-learning course?

  • Find service-learning designated courses on Webadvisor by locating the drop-down box labeled “course type” and choosing "service-learning" or "service-learning optional.”

How can faculty learn more about community-engaged teaching?

“When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change.”

—Peter Kolvenbach, S.J., “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice” (2000) 

Resources for students already registered in a service-learning class: