What is Service-Learning?

Service-Learning is a teaching and learning method in which students provide meaningful service in the community to help them better understand what they are learning in their courses. Service-Learning focuses on critical thinking, problem solving, personal development, and community responsibility.  Service-Learning courses typically require 40 hours of direct service and to complement the coursework throughout the semester.

Are all Service-Learning courses the same?

No; some Service-Learning courses are more general and focus on a broad view of service and leadership; the sites to choose from vary by subject area.  Other Service-Learning courses are issue-based, which means that the course focuses on one specific issue and the service sites are related to that issue.  Other Service-Learning courses are project-based, which means that the service is not necessarily contained to one site, but may span across sites in order to complete a specific project.

Do I need instructor approval to take Service-Learning courses?

Instructor approval is not required for most Service-Learning courses.

Are Service-Learning courses required?

Service-Learning courses are not specifically required; however, Service-Learning courses can potentially fulfill either an ECCE Engagement or ECCE Elective requirement, depending on your major.

Can I pick any non-profit agency to complete my service hours?

IPL/service-learning instructors may have suggestions for service-learning sites, and you can also find service opportunities through the Volunteer & Civic Engagement Center. If you wish to complete service hours at another site, you will need to have your site approved by your instructor. A determining factor in site approval is the ability of the agency to provide feedback to you (the student) and to the professor at various times during the semester.

Can I use my current job as a service site for a Service-Learning course?

No. The purpose of Service-Learning courses is to provide needed service to the community, and if you are already working and getting paid at an agency, that need is already filled. You might be able to complete an Internship (for ECCE Engagement/Elective credit) where you currently work.  Contact the IPL office for more information.

How far in advance should I start preparing/registering for a Service-Learning course?

Service-Learning courses can be registered for at the same time that you register for your other classes. However, if you plan on completing your service hours where you would be working directly with children or vulnerable populations, you need to start a month or more in advance; it takes a few weeks for background checks to be processed.

What is Service-Learning Immersion?

A service-learning immersion course involves students becoming fully immersed in a service experience for a period of time.  In the past, UIS students enrolled in the immersion course and earned credit for the alternative spring break service trip.