Service Learning SotL in 10 Minutes

2013 Service Learning Survey

In May 2013 service-learning students were surveyed and the answers were indicative that service-learning can impact the participants as well as the recipients.

  • 90% of students surveyed felt more connected with members of the community.
  • 100% felt their service-learning course made a positive impact upon the community.
  • 98% of students felt that the class as a group made a positive impact upon the non-profit organization.
  • 90% of students felt the service-learning component had strengthened their academic learning in the course.
  • 90% of students improved in their ability to interact with others in a professional manner due to the service-learning experience.
  • 43% of students felt that the greatest lesson learned from service-learning was that small actions make a big difference.


Reflection can be used in many classes as well as Service-Learning classes and helps to give students a chance to think about the process and the outcomes.

Maria Gonzalez, JU Spanish professor agreed and elaborated,

“Reflection or Journaling as we know it in our Service Learning courses is a way of expressing the way we are affected on the inside by what we see, observe or work with in the outside. Journaling gives us an opportunity to understand better what is really happening when we do Service Learning. The students have the opportunity to reflect and realize that there is always a learning factor for them when they are providing a service to others. With the service itself they are providing a need for those they are serving but with the journaling, this is when they make a conscientious effort to understand what they are really learning as an individual by providing a service to others. In many occasions, through the reflection time by journaling, the receiving becomes bigger than the giving itself.”

Here are some great questions to pose to students after their service-learning event:

  • Describe what you have learned about yourself as a result of your service.
  • What have you learned about your community?
  • What values, opinions, beliefs have changed?
  • What learning occurred for you in this experience? How can you apply this learning?
  • If you could do the project again, what would you do differently?
  • What have you learned about yourself?
  • Talk about any disappointments or successes of your project. What did you learn from it?
  • Complete this sentence: Because of my service learning, I am…

Successful Service-Learning… BIOL 204C - Botany with Dr. Goldberg

Dr. Nisse Goldberg has been teaching the Botany course as a Service-Learning component for years and has been very successful in getting students involved in serving the community. She has been working with the Arlington Community Garden that is associated with Tree Hill Nature Center and is managed by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Jacksonville.

The Botany students are growing heirloom varieties of lettuce, broccoli, tomato, and peppers from seed. Later, the produce will be harvested by members of the Seed and Feed Program and distributed to local food pantries. This year, over 500 pounds of produce have been harvested, including what was contributed through the botany service-learning classes.

In addition, students are developing educational kits on bees and soil health. These kits will be used to educate young visitors of the community garden.

Students learn how to grow plants, how to work together to keep their plants healthy and growing, the importance of heirloom vs. genetically-modified varieties, difficulties of economically-challenged parents to provide fresh and nutritious foods to their children.

For more info about the garden:

Service-Learning Course Approval - Spring 2017

Coming in September 2016 Service-Learning is hosting workshops for faculty who want to create new SL courses for the following Spring 2017 semester. Keep your eyes open for forthcoming workshop announcements!

Criteria which define a service-learning experience are:

  • Academic component, including your objectives for student learning.
  • Service, related to the course topic, which meets a community need.
  • Assessment of learning outcomes-academic and other learning outcomes such as citizenship or diversity.
  • Reflection based on Kolb’s Model of Experiential Learning-concrete experiences, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. Reflection is the key element that links the service and the learning together.
  • Organized and supervised- information including your community partner, location of service, training involved.

Community Partners

Jacksonville University has a great resource of community partners’ right here in Arlington that is willing to team up with faculty in their service-learning courses including:

Carpenters Shop -

They have worked with the Education/Humanities faculty in the past and have had many JU students volunteer at their organization.

Tree Hill Nature Center -

Tree Hill has been working with faculty from the Biology/Sciences classes for many years.

L’Arche Harbor House -

This organization has worked with Anne Acker and her classes for many years.

Pace Center for Girls -

This center has had many functions at JU as well as support from JU alumni and faculty.

Jacksonville Arboretum -

The Arboretum has been helped extensively by JU faculty with database work, phone apps and updating plants’ listings.