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Service Learning Resource Guide

A study was conducted by Yan Wang and Robert Rodgers to "explore the impact of service learning and social justice education on college students’ cognitive development." The study "provides evidence that students' thinking and reasoning becomes more complex after taking service learning courses." (NASPA Journal, 2006, Vol. 43 no.2)

What is Service Learning?
What are the Benefits to Students?
What are the Benefits to Communities? 
Practicing Service Learning: A Few Examples
What Organizations Around Stony Brook University Would Be Interested? 

What is Service Learning?

  • Experiential learning that links learning in the classroom with activities that students participate in to address the needs of the surrounding community.
  • An effective strategy for enhancing student learning, improving educational experience and fostering civic engagement.
  • Service-learning courses typically include structured time for students to reflect on and discuss the service experience.
  • A strategy for meeting important community needs and building a partnership between the university and local community.

What are the Benefits to Students?

  • Provides "hands-on" opportunities to reinforce classroom learning.
  • Opens the opportunity to make a difference in the community.
  • Develops professional experience and skills employers are looking for:

    • critical thinking skills
    • communication
    • teamwork
    • civic responsibility
    • problem solving
    • public speaking
    • computer skills
    • research skills
    • analytical skills

What are the Benefits to Communities?

  • Long-term partnerships between community organizations and the university develop, allowing students to provide support and assistance to community organizations.
  • Through Service-Learning courses students assist community organizations in their ability to reach more people and improve their quality of their services.
  • Enthusiastic students inspire and energize community residents to become more active in their community.
  • By participating in a Service-Learning course, students are more likely to continue to serve their community.

Practicing Service Learning: A Few Examples

  • At Buffalo State students participate in a wide variety of service learning projects which span all disciplines.  Some projects include conducting a community health fair, writing community newsletters, participating in the success and expansion of GED and professional development courses. 
  • At Ohio State University faculty from the College of Dentistry and Department of Human Nutrition collaborate to provide dental care to underserved populations in Columbus, Ohio.
  • At Stanford students work in a government organizations that facilitate urban development and improvement. 
  • Some professors chose to allow students to develop their own service project instead of completing a typical semester project. 
  • Before the fall semester began in 2006 the Stony Brook University College of Leadership and Service took a bus load of new students to build a global village.  Students served their community by building the complex and gained a greater understanding of living conditions in 3rd world countries.
  • Each year since hurricane Katrina a group of Stony Brook students have traveled to New Orleans to pursue an “Alternative Spring Break.”   The students spend their vacation building homes with Habitat for Humanity providing sorely needed housing to those ravaged by the disaster.   

What Organizations Around Stony Brook University Would Be Interested?

The Stony Brook University Career Center already partners with over 200 non-profit organizations near Stony Brook and throughout the 5 boroughs of NYC.  If you are interested in developing a service learning project with a community partner, consult Urszula Zalewskiin the Career Center at 632-6814. 


Service-Learning Toolkit

If you are interested in service learning and its applications, the Melville Library, Campus Compact, The Undergraduate College of Leadership and Service, and the Career Center are all wonderful resources to consult, each with its own wealth of information. Here are a few examples of what you will find in each:

Resources Available in the Melville Library
  • Service-Learning in Higher Education: Critical Issues and Directions

    Dan W. Butin

    Main Library Stacks LC220.5.S47 2005 - Normal Loan
  • Service-Learning: History, Theory, and Issues

    Bruce W. Speck and Sherry L. Hoppe

    Main Library Stacks LC220.5.S4583 2004 - Normal Loan
  • Educating Tomorrow's Valuable Citizen

    Joan N. Burstyn

    Main Library Stacks JK1759.E26 1996 - Normal Loan
  • Multicultural Service Learning: Educating Teachers in Diverse Communities

    Marilynne Boyle-Baise

    Main Library Stacks LC1099.B69 2002 - Normal Loan

Resources Available in the Career Center

  • Establishing and Sustaining an Office of Community Service 

    Campus Compact Publication
  • The Service & Service Learning Center Guide to Endowed Funding 

    Campus Compact Publication
  • Benchmarks for Campus / Community Partnerships

    Campus Compact Publication
  • Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning 

    University of Michigan
  • The Journal of Public Affairs

Relevant Journal Articles

  • "Impact of Service-Learning and Social Justice Education on College Students' Cognitive Development" Yan Wang and Robert Rodgers, NASPA Journal, 2006, Vol. 43, no. 2
  • "Development of Student Service Learning Course Survey (SSLCS) to Measure Service Learning Course Outcomes"  Yan Wang, Feifei Ye, Golden Jackson, Robert Rodgers, Susan Jones, The Ohio State University. Association of Institutional Research, Volume 3, January 21, 2005. 

New York Campus Compact Resources* 

Web site
Resources for Faculty 

For additional resources on service-learning including service learning syllabi, service-learning integration models and toolkits, please go to Campus Compact website

*NB – If you are interested in ordering a Campus Compact Publication you will receive a discount as Stony Brook University is a member of the organization.

Resources for Civic Engagement & Incorporating Diversity into Civic Work*

Association of American Colleges and Universities: Civic Engagement

American Association of Colleges and Universities: Diversity

American Democracy Project, American Association of State Colleges and Universities

Bonner Foundation

Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

Close-Up Foundation

National Survey of Student Engagement

University of California Berkeley Service Learning and Civic Engagement Research Directory

*Adapted from Diversity Campus Community Connections Volume 10, Number 1