For Community Partners: FAQ

  1. What can students do for a service learning project?
  2. What are students graded on?
  3. What is reflection? 

What is service learning?
Service-Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.  As a form of experiential education, service learning achieves and enhances course objectives while meeting an identified community need.

What are the goals of service learning?
Service learning combines service to the community with student learning in a way that improves both the student and the community. As students participate in their community service projects, actively meeting the needs of communities, they develop practical skills, discover their passion and learn the importance of civic responsibility. 

How does service learning differ from community service or volunteering?
Community service, also known as volunteering, is volunteer action taken to meet the needs of others and better the community as a whole. Service learning is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum and course outcomes, while also meeting an identified community need. Service learning is reciprocal in that both the recipient, the community partner, and the volunteer, the student, benefit. Service learning also provides a structured time for thoughtful planning of the service project and guided reflection by participants on the service experience. Overall, the most important feature of effective service learning is that both learning and service are emphasized.

How many hours do service learning students members serve?
Service learning students generally serve between 10 – 20 hours over the course of the semester. 

Fall semester begins in early September (usually the day after Labor Day), and consists of 15 weeks of classes, including a week for final examinations.  Spring semester begins in mid-January and consists of 15 weeks of classes (with a one-week spring recess after about nine weeks), including a week for final examinations.  A Winter Session runs for approximately five weeks between the fall and the spring semesters, usually from mid-December to mid-January.  Three summer sessions from about mid-May until the end of August are held.

Are students paid for their service?
Some community partner organization programs are eligible for federal work study and in those situations students can be paid via federal work study for service they are conducting.  If you think your organizations is eligible, please contact the service learning coordinator – Billie Jo Day,

What is the service learning student’s schedule?
The supervisor and the student will sit down and decide the schedule together.

Can the students perform the service learning project over more than one semester?
Service learning is tied to an academic course, so when the semester ends so does the service learning project.  However, students are encouraged to continue to serve with the community partner after the semester ends and are welcome to do so.   

How does service learning benefit your organization?

Your organization will get a group of students who will dedicate a predictable amount of hours.  From those upper-level service learners, you will receive skilled service from students who are training in a specific field. 

What can students do for a service learning project?
The service learning project looks different depending on the course be taken. Often, professors will have service learning as an option to a more traditional assignment like a term paper. Your professor will tell you about the service learning project, the community partners, required hours and reflection assignment.  Below are some benefits:

  • Mentoring/tutoring
  • Assisting with office work
  • Entering data and providing technical support
  • Assisting with grant writing
  • Researching issues
  • Contributions to newsletter

What are students graded on?
Students are graded not on the service, but on the learning that takes place because of their service experience. The learning is evaluated through reflection exercises designed by the course instructor.  If you are interested, you can ask the professor for a copy of the syllabus.  This will tell you what the students are learning in class and may help you decide what sort of service positions to place them in.

What is reflection?
Reflection provides students an opportunity to think about what they are learning in their course work and how it applies to their service learning experience.  This provides students a new lens through which to understand their coursework and their community around them.

*Adapted from Lorain County Community College