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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 at Loyola seeks to encourage students to develop this solidarity through active engagement with our community. 

Service-Learning Overview

Service-learning integrates community service with academic coursework. 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.

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 Kolvenbach's 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. An overview of service-learning requirements is listed below. For fuller guidance, please visit the Service-Learning Teaching Guidelines page

Course Requirements

Service-learning courses are designated "SL - Service-Learning" in WebAdvisor. These classes use one of the two following approaches:

  • Service mandatory where service is required for all students in the class
  • Service optional where students may self-select to participate in the service-learning activities of the class

Pedagogically, service-learning courses may be designed to include the following:

  • Program-based (or direct service): students participate in established direct service programs, often on a weekly or biweekly bases, organized by community partners
  • Project-based (or creation of a deliverable): students complete a class project with a defined end-date and deliverable or report created with the community partner
  • Mixed (direct service with deliverable): students complete work that includes aspects of both approaches outlined above

Engagement requirements with community partners must follow the guidance below:

  • Be reciprocal: activities and deliverables must be created with the partner to benefit them and meet an existing and significant need
  • Be respectful: community partners are often very busy, and so faculty members should contact them early before creating their class to allow adequate time for engagement
  • Be clearly defined: faculty members and community partners should create a program or project agreement outlining the responsibility of each party, for examples of existing agreements click here
  • Be coordinated: contact the Faculty Director for Community-Engaged Learning and Scholarship, or the Assistant Director for Academic Engagement. 

Faculty members should closely integrate service opportunities with the content of the class and the specialization of the faculty member. Faculty members may also adapt existing service-learning packets into their courses (see more below).

Student Materials

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

Service-learning courses cross disciplines and provide experiential, real-world engagement for Loyola students where "solidarity is learned through 'contact' not just by 'concept'." Faculty members. must participate in the Faculty Fellows seminar before being able to teach a service-learning designated course. Contact the Faculty Director for Community- Engaged Learning and Scholarship, and visit this page for more information. 

For a more comprehensive overview of Loyola's requirements for a service-learning designated class visit our service-learning teaching guidelines page

Service-Learning Modules

The following resources have been created to help faculty members integrate service into both service designated and non-service designated classes:

  • Service-Learning Component Modules: These modules provide faculty members with materials to integrate service into their classes without obtaining a full service-learning designation. Instructors may use existing modules, or they may collaborate with the Faculty Director for Community-Engaged Learning and Scholarship to tailor module content to specific courses. The modules follow best practices in service-learning and are collections of readings, activities, and reflections that help students understand critical issues around civic engagement and service. If you would like to use one or develop one of these modules, please contact the Faculty Director for Community Engaged Learning and Scholarship. 
  • Service-Learning Content Modules: These are packets of curated materials that faculty members can integrate into service-learning designated classes. A module on student philanthropy service-learning will be available soon. If you would like to use or develop a module, please contact the Faculty Director for Community-Engaged Learning and Scholarship. 

For more information, visit our service-learning modules page

Past and Present Classes

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

Some examples of past service-learning courses include the following:

  • Students in Russell Cook's Spring 2018 Capstone in Video Production Course created this promotional piece for Walter P. Carter and Guilford Elementary Schools, which discusses the school merger that will happen in the next few years despite complex neighborhood tensions.

service-learning with St. Ignatius Academy

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

  • 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

Above: 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.

Learn More about Service-Learning

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 "SL - Service-Learning."

Can faculty members include service without a service-learning designation?

Many courses at Loyola incorporate community service and service-learning pedagogy but do not meet the criteria for service-learning course designation. These courses remain valuable in the development of students’ civic education and are thus encouraged.

All courses that incorporate community-engaged learning intentionally contribute to Undergraduate Educational Aims that promote justice, diversity, responsibility. These values are central to the Jesuit mission of Loyola University Maryland and of all Jesuit colleges and universities.

Some examples of course-based service components and community-engaged learning include one-time or intermittent group service, small-scale service projects, advocacy activities, or educational engagement with community members and partners either in or out of the classroom. To make service activities in these courses as meaningful as possible, Loyola encourages faculty  desiring to incorporate service activities in their courses to consult with staff members in Academic Affairs and the Center for Community, Service, and Justice for appropriate resources.

Inspired by our mission to connect campus and community for a more just and equitable world, Loyola’s Center for Community, Service, and Justice (CCSJ) strives to become an anti-racist organization. We will pursue this commitment by investing in our capacity to think critically about the role race plays in our relationships, programs, and organization and we acknowledge that we will be personally and professionally challenged in this work.  Please read our commitment statement

How can faculty learn more about community-engaged teaching?  

  • Enroll in the Faculty Fellows Seminar in Service-Learning. The Faculty Fellows Seminar is offered every spring semester and includes five 2-hour sessions focusing on both the theory and practice of service-learning pedagogy. The seminar also includes one four-hour session before the fall semester begins. Participation in the Seminar is a requirement for attaining service-learning designation. Learn more at our Faculty Fellows Seminar page.
  • Check out the NEW Assessment Toolkit for resources on evaluating student learning and community partnerships in service-learning.
  • Contact, Faculty Director for Community-Engaged Learning and Scholarship, or Assistant Director for Academic Engagement, with questions and ideas.

"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) 

Contact Us

Ben Belz, Assistant Director for Academic Engagement. 

Dr. Stephen Park, Faculty Director for Community-Engaged Learning and Scholarship.