“Service-Learning is a course-based experiential learning strategy that engages students in meaningful and relevant service with a community partner while employing ongoing reflection to draw connections between the service and course content, thus enhancing academic learning, promoting civic responsiveness, and strengthening communities.”
The Service-Learning Initiative within UT Knoxville’s Teaching & Learning Innovation unit facilitates campus-community partnerships in service-learning on a semesterly basis by working to match community organizations, agencies, and offices with faculty teaching courses applicable to the community partners’ work. While service-learning projects and/or service activities can change from semester to semester, the ultimate goal is for students to enhance course learning while meeting one or more of our community partners’ developmental goals and needs. Service-learning is curriculum based, and involves students applying their course learning to work at a community site over some span of time throughout the semester. During this time, faculty guide students in continually reflecting on the service experience and connecting these experiences to their course content in a classroom setting. When implemented in a mutually-beneficial, sensitive, and sustained manner, scholarship suggests that service-learning can help build greater capacity for community organizations.
We understand that community engagement through service-learning would not be possible without the support and willingness of our community partners to host students, build reciprocal relationships, and share knowledge with our faculty and students. We serve community partners by providing a place where partners can connect to service-learning resources, market service opportunities, and find institutional support. In addition, we are dedicated to providing information on the challenges and best practices associated with service-learning in an effort to enhance the quality of campus-community partnerships.