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How do I Integrate Service-Learning Into a Course?

Thayne Center for Service & Learning

Established in 1994, the Thayne Center envisions a world in which people’s basic needs are met and in which the values of equality and social justice are realized. We believe institutions of higher education have a responsibility to cultivate an engaged citizenry. We are therefore dedicated to empowering our students and faculty to realize they have the knowledge and skills to affect positive change in their community.

The mission of the Thayne Center is to establish capacity-building relationships with community organizations, facilitate service-learning development opportunities for faculty, and coordinate service leadership programs for students who are out to change the world.

Service-Learning Defined

“Service-learning combines community service with academic instruction, focusing on critical, reflective thinking and personal and civic responsibility. Service-learning programs involve students in activities that address community-identified needs, while developing their academic skills and commitment to their community.” – American Association of Community Colleges

Service-learning is a pedagogy, an academic method of teaching and learning. Service-learning is not simply volunteering and it is not simply community service tacked on to the course as an afterthought. Service-learning is: Woven throughout course curriculum and course learning outcomes; designed to meet a community-identified need; and structured around assignments and activities created to foster critical thinking. In service-learning pedagogy, those structures are commonly referred to as critical reflection assignments.

Criteria for Integrating Service-Learning into Course Curricula

A cohort of SLCC faculty researched best practices and designed a common set of criteria for the designation of service-learning courses. This criteria is endorsed by the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee, is specific to service-learning pedagogy and practices, and can be overlaid on any course in any discipline. The Thayne Center for Service & Learning manages the Service-Learning Grant & Designation program as a way to reward faculty who integrate service-learning in their course.

In addition to the Service Learning Grant and Designation program, the Thayne Center facilitates a number of professional development opportunities for faculty interested in service-learning. Many programs are in partnership with the Faculty Teaching & Learning Center, the Center for Innovation, and Continuing Education, and range from peer mentoring programs to Service Learning 1000 courses.

For information about service-learning pedagogy, professional development opportunities, training, and technical support, contact: Lucy Smith, Service-Learning Coordinator, at 801-957-4688 or . The Thayne Center for Service & Learning is located in the Taylorsville Redwood Campus Student Center, room 020. Visit the Thayne Center online at, and connect on our social media networks.  

Salt Lake Community College

4600 South Redwood Road Salt Lake City, UT 84123
Student Services hours: M-Th: 7 am - 7 pm; Fr 7 am - 4:30 pm
Enrollment Info: 801-957-4073

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