Academic Service-Learning

Academic Service-Learning: Supporting the Mission of The University
Expanding knowledge and taking responsibility for effecting positive change throughout Texas are core values at The University of Texas at Austin. Through the Academic Service-Learning program, courses with outside-the-classroom learning components are supported by the Longhorn Center for Community Engagement.  This program furthers the values of the University by facilitating the collaboration of students, instructors, and community partners on service projects that are beneficial to everyone involved.

What is Academic Service-Learning?

  • A form of experiential education in which students earn course credit as they engage in activities that address community priorities;
  • A program of study that integrates service with student learning outcomes; and
  • A method of pedagogy in which service and learning are equally important components.

Two important aspects may distinguish Academic Service-Learning from a) volunteerism—in which students primarily meet the needs of a community partner—or b) an internship—in which the partner provides opportunities for students to develop skills.

  • Reflection activities help students connect what they learn through their service with the theoretical background that is set forth through course materials.
  • Reciprocity between the organization being served and those engaged in service promotes a sense of mutual responsibility and a situation in which students feel a sense of belonging in the community and community partners feel empowered to bring in students to help meet a priority.

With reciprocity and reflection, the service-learning activity enables students to collaborate with community partners to create sustainable long-term solutions to complex problems.

How Academic Service-Learning Can Benefit You

  • Students. Engagement in academic service-learning can enhance students’ interpersonal, cognitive, moral, and intellectual development, as well as a sense of civic responsibility. Students may also begin making deep connections between coursework and real-world application in employment or community service.
  • Instructors. Faculty members may develop courses that facilitate student learning and encourage strong collaborative relationships between students and instructors.  Also, you can learn more about how ASL impacts the tenure process at UT-Austin.
  • Community Partners. Enthusiastic student learners enable organizations to meet their goals as well as represent the link between the partner and the intellectual resources at The University of Texas at Austin

ASL Resources for Instructors

  • Click here for forms and resources that will help you in starting or changing your service-learning course.

We Can Help You Participate in Academic Service-Learning
The staff of the Longhorn Center for Community Engagement provide resources and support for faculty who are currently teaching or would like to teach an academic service-learning course, for students who are interested or enrolled in a service-learning course, and for community partners who are interested in collaborating with UT-Austin faculty and students.

Contact us at or 512.471.6161 for more information.