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Student Expectations for Service-Learning

Service-learning students represent UT to the external community, and their participation should reflect the highest standards of ethical and professional behavior. The following items outline standards that students should follow when engaging in service-learning. If the service-learning community partner has additional expectations or requirements for volunteers, students should become aware of and adhere to as well.

  • become familiar with the mission and history of the community partner organization
  • know the learning objectives of the course and the function of the service in advancing the community partner organization’s mission
  • observe your primary role as a learner coming in to understand, collaborate, and support the community
  • refrain from assuming the role of an “expert” coming to “save” the community
  • recognize community assets and expertise as critical components to achieving meaningful and sustainable community impacts
  • keep lines of communication open with your professor and community partner
  • share any fears or apprehensions you have about the project with your professor prior to and throughout the project
  • recognize the history and cultural resources of community members with whom you engage
  • consider your own positionality and how this shapes your perceptions of individuals with whom you interact through your service–examine and work to overcome biases
  • ask questions often and effectively deal with challenges
  • perform to the best of your ability
  • be respectful toward staff members, community members, and clients of the organization
  • maintain the professional standards of the partner organization
  • refrain from sharing confidential or internal information with the media
  • commit to completing the service project, and communicate as soon as possible if impediments to completion arise
  • call ahead or notify your site supervisor in a timely fashion if you will be late or absent to on-site service and/or meetings
  • commit to the organization’s cause throughout the duration of the project
  • be self- motivated and self-directed
  • actively participate in classroom and assignment activities to develop knowledge and skills to enable participation in the community project

If you have questions or would like to discuss these expectations with someone in the Service-Learning Program, please email us at