Service Learning

With the creation of the Allegheny College Center for Experiential Learning (ACCEL) in 1998 the Office of Community Service (now Civic Engagement) began to work closely with faculty members who wanted to incorporate service-learning in their academic courses. During the following year, the office supported the efforts of faculty and the curriculum committee in the creation of the Values Ethics and Social Action minor. Another significant step forward came in the spring of 2000 with the beginning of a student-initiated program called the “Service-Learning Challenge”. Trained student service leaders partnered with faculty to introduce a service-component in selected second semester first year seminar courses. Since that time the Service-Learning Challenge has expanded beyond the first-year curriculum and now involves a wide variety of courses in both semesters.

Civic Education offers several types of support to faculty members interested in service-learning pedagogy. Individualized consultation is particularly important since the design of a service component ought to be crafted according to the particular goals of a course in light of clearly articulated community needs. Secondly, the office co-sponsors a three-day workshop each summer on service-learning course design. In addition resources are available to send teams of faculty, students and administrators to national conferences designed to promote campus-wide service-learning efforts. The Service Learning Library, located in Reis Hall, contains an extensive section of service-learning resources, including sample syllabi.

As outlined on page eight of Tradition & Transformation: Allegheny College 2010 Strategic Plan, service-learning is part of a campus-wide effort to foster student commitment to a life of civic responsibility. The expansion of service-learning at Allegheny College can be attributed to a collaborative effort of faculty, students, administrators and community partners.