The Longhorn Center for Community Engagement is pleased to serve as consultants to instructors who wish to convert existing courses into or create new academic service-learning courses. Instructors can connect with community partners and enhance student learning by teaching an academic service-learning course.

What is Academic Service-Learning?

Academic service-learning is

  • 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;
  • A method of pedagogy that promotes both reflection and reciprocity.

Why Should You Teach an Academic Service-Learning Course?

While students certainly benefit academically and socially from academic service-learning classes, you may benefit, too, as you

  • Have the opportunity to develop courses that facilitate student learning;
  • Encourage strong collaborative relationships between students and instructors;
  • Architect new curricula and experiment with new pedagogical techniques;
  • Publish findings about learning outcomes and evaluation of service-learning; and
  • List your service-learning course in your teaching portfolio for tenure review. Academic service-learning is considered an important pedagogy at the University and so teaching a service learning class is taken into consideration for tenure review.
  • Share your experience in community-based scholarship at university-wide events like United to Serve.
  • Become recognized as a leader in community-based scholarship at the UT Tower Awards.

What to Consider as you Develop Your Course

As you plan your course, please determine how and why you will integrate service into your course. You may especially wish to focus on the following aspects:

  • Hours. How many hours will your students be required to commit to service? We recommend that students be required to commit at least 20 hours a semester.
  • Community Partner. Do you have a community partner or partners in mind? If not, our office can help you find a partner or partners who will help you meet the learning outcomes of your class.
  • Expectations. Discuss with your community partner your preferences for adequate training.
  • Reflection. Determine what reflection activities you would like students to undertake before, during, and after their service.
  • Measuring Success. Begin to think about what a successful service-learning experience would look like and about how you will evaluate student learning. Our office is happy to work with you to develop surveys. You are also welcome to edit our pre-course and post-course survey templates.

If you are new to service-learning, you may want to take a look at examples of courses.

Getting Started

The staff of the Longhorn Center for Community Engagement (LCCE) provides resources and support for faculty who are currently teaching or would like to teach an academic service-learning course. If you would like assistance reaching out to community partners or incorporating reflection activities into your course, please contact Dr. Suchitra Gururaj, Assistant Vice President, LCCE.