Service Learning Network

Service Learning Benefits

Benefits of Service Learning

For students, service-learning can . . .  

Enhance Both Theoretical and Practical Understanding 

Service-learning offers students the opportunity to apply course concepts and theory in real world problem-solving situations to benefit the community. What they read in books and hear in class can take on new meaning as they use their academic learning and experiences in the community to start constructing knowledge on their own.

Deepen Commitments to Community Involvement 

Academic involvement in the public sphere decreases a student's isolation from social and political issues facing society and the local community. Interacting with individuals and agencies allows students to learn the assets, struggles, networks, and resources of various neighborhoods or constituent groups. Students can develop a broader awareness of community involvement, critical thinking skills, and a deeper understanding of course material, all of which expand learning and help prepare students for future roles as engaged citizens.


For faculty, service-learning can . . .  

Reinvigorate a Course 

Service-learning is a unique pedagogy that can be new and exciting for both the teacher and learner. Students draw not only on course concepts and theories, but also on their own experiences to reflect on issues of importance in the discipline. It provides the instructor with another resource, a tool in the teaching repertoire that enhances collaboration and active learning.

Strengthen a Student's Understanding 

By linking service with coursework, faculty promote critical experiences for students to reflect on and learn from, enabling them to see the applications of academic knowledge. Students bring to class discussion different perspectives on their service work, creating the potential for a more engaging and diverse learning environment.

Provide Connections with the Community 

Interacting with the community provides exposure to local issues and social concerns, giving faculty and students the ability to identify resources and develop meaningful relationships that may shape future professional endeavors and civic participation.


For the community, service-learning can help groups . . .

Be a Partner 

Local service agencies and activists can be important partners in educating students with community-based learning. Breaking down the division between the school and community fosters cooperation and allows community representatives to share their perspectives and experiences with young people who desire the opportunity to learn and make a difference.

Meet Their Needs 

In a positive partnership such as service-learning, local service organizations benefit from the knowledge, creativity, and enthusiasm students contribute to a project. The connection with the University and its resources may enable non-profit agencies to increase their visibility and more effectively reach their goals.


For the institution, service learning can . . .  

Enhance Relations with the Community 

Having students and faculty lend their time, resources, and expertise to solving local problems or contributing to the common good demonstrates GVSU's commitment not just to being a good neighbor, but to being an invested part of the community. Service-learning recognizes that many individuals and organizations have something valuable to teach our students and that cooperative efforts are mutually beneficial.

Highlight the Value of a GVSU Education 

By helping to prepare our students for their future roles as educated citizens who have something to contribute both to their professions and to their communities, GVSU furthers its mission. We seek to cultivate in students a respect for other individuals and cultures, enhance moral sensitivity, personal creativity, and emotional stability, and exemplify compassion, civility, and a sense of justice.

Page last modified February 16, 2010