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Service-learning Designation Proposals

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Are you interested in designating your service-learning course?

For an undergraduate/graduate course to be officially eligible for the service-learning designation, include these components on your syllabus and submit your proposal.

1. Service-learning experience

  • Description of the service-learning experience, including hours in community 
  • Definition of service-learning


2. Student Learning Outcomes related to service component

  • Measurable and observable statements of student learning outcomes that describe what students enrolled in the course should know and do (relative to service aspects of the course) upon successful completion of the course.  


3. A Community partnership engagement plan

  • Service addresses a community-identified need.
  • Community benefits from the service, project or research.
  • Community partners have the opportunity to assess the project and give feedback to the faculty member and students.


4. Assessment of learning outcomes

  • Use of critical reflection assignments to enhance and assess the learning gained from the service aspect of the course, including the understanding of the community-identified need. These assignments should be ongoing throughout the service experience, not just at the end of the experience. It is expected that the quality of the assignment(s) is/are assessed using a simple rubric.
  • Potentially, use of other assignments that link academic learning and service (e.g. term paper, final presentation, etc.)


The rubric below further describes these components.  The Provost Advisory Committe on Service-Learning will use this rubric to review course proposals. 

Area Revise Designate

SL Experience and Student Learning 





Includes Sl but makes a weak case for connection to student learning outcomes. 


Some student learning outcomes not measurable or observable.




Makes a clear case for use of SL and student learning outcomes concrete.   


All student  learning outcomes are measureable and/or observable.









Collaboration with community partner is not well established or it is unclear if students are provided with guidance/resources to form their own partnership.  Needs of the university are reflected but not those of the community.


Community partners have the opportunity to either identify needs or respond to work.




Collaboration with community partner is very well established or students are   provided with guidance/resources to form their own partnership.  Both university needs and     needs of the community are reflected.


Community partners have theopportunity to identify needs   and respond to work.



Critical reflection assignments create a loose connection between community service and student learning outcomes.


Reflection offered one time only.


Critical reflection assignments create a concrete connection between service and student learning outcomes.  


Reflection offered multiple         times.

This rubric will be used by PAC Service-Learning to evaluate how well a course meets the requirements for a service-learning course.  Faculty will receive confirmation of designation or instructions for how to revise syllabus to meet requirements.


Complete this form and attach your syllabus.  Complete one form per course.

The Provost Advisory Committee on Service-Learning (PACSL) (composed of faculty, professional staff and administrators) will review the submitted materials.

Once a course is approved for the service-learning designation, notification will go out to the faculty member, Department Head, Dean, and the Vice Provost for Faculty.

If the course is not approved the first time, PAC Service-Learning will provide constructive feedback and recommendations to the faculty member on how the course could be improved to meet learning course designation criteria. Faculty will be encouraged to re-submit.

The Registrar’s office will add the term “SERV” under the course title and course time in the schedule of classes.

A course that receives the designation will only continue to carry that designation as long as the same faculty member is listed as instructor of record.

Faculty will be contacted by the CE every two years to ask that they complete an update form so that any changes in partnerships, service, or course numbering can be documented.

At the end of each semester, OUCE will send an email with a self-assessment on the course. 

The following list created by the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse gives a sense of the many ways students can apply instruction and practice needed skills through helping others. Full-scale projects include formal linkages with coursework, and part of the student grade is tied to the service-learning activities. Note that different types of projects have students apply different skills.

Direct Service-Learning: person-to-person, face-to-face service projects in which the students’ service directly impacts individuals who receive the service from the students. Examples include:

  • Tutoring other students and adults
  • Conducting art/music/dance lessons for youth
  • Giving presentations on violence and drug prevention
  • Helping in a homeless shelter
  • Creating life reviews for Hospice patients

Indirect Service-Learning: working on broad issues, environmental projects, or community development–projects that have clear benefits to the community or environment, but not necessarily to individually identified people with whom the students are working. Examples include:

  • Compiling a town history
  • Restoring historic structures or building low-income housing
  • Removing invasive plants and restoring ecosystems in preserve areas for public use

Research-Based Service-Learning: gathering and presenting information on areas of interest and need–projects that find, gather, and report on information that is needed. Examples include:

  • Writing a guide on available community services and translating it into Spanish and other languages of new residents
  • Conducting longitudinal studies of local bodies of water; water testing for local residents
  • Gathering information and creating brochures or videos for non-profit or government agencies
  • Mapping state lands and monitoring flora and fauna

Advocacy Service-Learning: educating others about topics of public interest–projects that aim to create awareness and action on some issue that impacts the community. Examples include:

  • Planning and putting on public forums on topics of interest in the community
  • Conducting public information campaigns on topics of interest or local needs
  • Working with elected officials to draft legislation to improve communities


Service-Learning “incorporates community work into the curriculum, giving students real-world learning experiences that enhance their academic learning while providing a tangible benefit for the community,” (Campus Compact).

“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” (Learn and Serve Clearinghouse, 2010).

Critical Reflection is a reasoning process to make meaning of an experience. Critical reflection is descriptive, analytical, and critical, and can be articulated in a number of ways such as in written form, orally, or as an artistic expression. This process adds depth and breadth to an experience and builds connections between course content and the experience. Reflection should be on-going, before, during and after students’ experience.

Community Engagement “Collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional, state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity” (Carnegie Foundation).

Faculty: Joy Pendley

Course Prefix: PSC 3200 

Course Title: Public Policy: Community Research


1.Service-learning experience:  Students in this course will work with community partners to build knowledge of the experiences of Spanish-speaking residents while working with stakeholders to develop action plans.  Students will design, plan, implement and evaluate a community survey.  Student will also plan, implement and analyze a set of interviews and/or focus groups with community members.  In community research it is important to disseminate information back to the community, therefore students will host a final presentation for community stakeholders and discuss outcomes and future projects.

This semester, research teams will work with the organization Identity Coalition to research and write a policy analysis/evaluation that will be presented to the 2017 Oklahoma Legislature.  Students will also develop a community asset map to be presented to community organizations.  

2.Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Knowledge of Community Action Research methods and research ethics   
  • Application of qualitative research and analysis technique.                            
  • Ability to work with community partners to develop research and deliver policy analysis that has the potential to make a difference in the community
  • Strengthen your abilities to analyze complicated social issues
  • Connect and apply knowledge from civic engagement experiences back to areas of study, using these experiences to comprehend, analyze, and /or challenge theories and frameworks
  • Develop and expand understanding of and capacity for active participation in a community

3.Community Partnership Engagement Plan:  Each semester, the faculty member works with community organizations or leaders to develop a course plan to address an issue or challenge in the community.  Many times, the organization has an issue they would like to address with new legislation or resource development. Once the partner has defined the area of research for students, the faculty member puts together the readings and other course content.  At the second meeting, the community partners work with the students to understand the work and to develop a relationship.  They make some decisions on what the partners want in deliverables and how student researchers will communicate with partners throughout the semester.  Once students have been oriented to the social issue in class readings and research, they work with the community partner to develop a set of questions for a public survey and interviews with community stakeholders, leaders and politicians.  Students must develop and maintain a communication strategy with the partners and get feedback on the development of the instruments.  Students will arrange for a final presentation of all data and analysis for the community partners and any invited guests that they want to include.  The final report is both oral and a hard copy of the analysis and a list of resources and best practice research.  

4.Assessment of Learning Outcomes:

Critical reflections: In the reflection assignments, you will discuss, explore difficult or challenging circumstances of your service-learning experience.  This assignment allows you to develop an understanding of the larger scope of issues and impact of service.  You should be thoughtful about your experiences and think about the impact of the work.  This is a chance to make sure you are addressing any inaccurate assumptions or biases you have brought to this work.  Pre-reflection (What role do you have in this research? What preconceived notions do you have about the project and the people involved? What do you need to do in order to prepare and implement this research? How will you communicate with your community partners to assure their knowledge and leadership is integral to the research?  What do you anticipate might happen in this research?). (Due before first set of interviews) Mid-way reflection (What do you know about this research and the community now that you have begun the project?  What assumptions did you begin with and how have these been addressed? What challenges have you had so far? What do you hope to accomplish in the last phase of your research?) (due after community survey) Final reflection (How did you maintain communication and collaboration with the community partner? Did the project unfold the way you thought it would? What issues arose and how did you address them? How is the project connected to the course content?  Is your view of the social issue changing?  How?) (due after community presentation)(Graded with rubric)(include on syllabus and on canvas)


Final Presentations- Students will analyze interviews and data from the community conference and present their findings to invited community partners.  This will lead to the development of next steps for the engagement lab and/or stakeholders. It is important for us to get the data back to the community and this presentation is a chance to do that.  Invite partners and community stakeholders to the final presentation when you have an interview and send a reminder email. (Graded with rubric) (include on syllabus and on canvas)