Student Resources

Contact Us

Tom Kelly, PhD
Director
Creighton Hall 109
402.280.3734
thomaskelly@creighton.edu

Dan Walsh, MSW, MPA
Senior Program Administrator
Creighton Hall 108
402.280.4388
danielwalsh1@creighton.edu

Student Resources

Creighton students enrolling in academic service learning classes brings them out of the classroom and into the community, giving the opportunity to apply classroom curriculum to community-identified needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is academic service learning?

What is academic service learning?

Academic service learning is a pedagogy and learning method that provides the community-based experience through which learning and critical reflection can take place integrated into traditional academic coursework. These experiences become an “integrated text” for the course and assist with making learning the subject matter even more dynamic and relevant. 

Starting in the summer of 2017, the new Office of Academic Service Learning supports faculty, students, and community partners engaged in academic service learning.

How is academic service learning different than a "traditional" class?

How is academic service learning different than a "traditional" class?

Academic benefits

  • An academic service learning course design can increase students’ interest in a subject matter and enhance their understanding of its relevance for "real world" settings.
  • Applying classroom knowledge to real-world situations (as is required in a well-designed service learning class) requires students to employ the highest levels of reasoning and knowledge integration, allowing for deeper learning.
  • Classroom activities and assignments that require students to reflect on their own learning in connection with community-based experiences also build (self-)critical reasoning and communication skills.

Opportunities for personal and civic growth

  • Working in the community enhances students' sense of personal efficacy, civic responsibility, identity, and moral development.
  • Concrete engagement in community service also increases students’ social responsibility and citizenship skills.
  • Exposure to and reflection upon the life experiences of vulnerable or disadvantaged populations can challenge students' preconceived notions and expose implicit biases and stereotypes.

Opportunities for professional development

  • Students can use service learning opportunities to test-drive career options, learning whether a particular field is (or is not) a good "fit" for their personal skills and passions.
  • Real-world experiences derived from service learning work can be valuable learning moments to discuss in job interviews and on graduate/professional school applications.
  • Volunteer positions connected with service learning classes have the potential to become internships, networking opportunities, personal/professional references, and even part- or full-time employment

How will I be graded for my academic service learning course work?

How will I be graded for my academic service learning course work?

To count as academic service learning, students' work in the community must be incorporated into course grading. Professors decide how much weight service learning will carry in a course. Professors are also often involved in evaluating the quality of students' service learning performance.

Community partners are often the best judges of performance, and so their perspective must be taken into account. Students completing academic service learning placements will be evaluated by an agency supervisor at the end of the placement. The evaluation will be sent to the professor for grading purposes. Students participating in academic service learning projects should be evaluated by community partners and professors. Grading should reflect both quality and quantity.

What kinds of service can you do in an Academic service learning class?

What kinds of service can you do in an Academic service learning class?

There are several ways to facilitate service learning experiences. Regardless of model, all service learning courses involve two common elements:  1) Student engagement in a service experience that is responsive to community priorities and aligns with course outcomes; and 2) Structured opportunities for reflection embedded in the course (assignments, discussions, final projects) that help students draw meaning from their community- based experiences and connect them to course content.

There are three general types of Academic service learning in Creighton classes:

Placement-based academic service learning classes require students to offer a set number of direct service hours to a single nonprofit organization as a member of their volunteer team. In placement classes, reflection exercises help students learn from their on-site experiences, which should relate directly to the content of the class.

Project-based academic service learning classes engage students in producing a substantial deliverable for one or more nonprofit organizations that function as "clients" for the students. Sometimes, this product is research-oriented (e.g., a resource guide for homeless clients or a program evaluation); at other times, the students may develop concrete products for the organization (e.g., a computer skills class for refugee clients or a new playground for youth). In project classes, reflection exercises often challenge students to continually think about what they are learning while practically applying their academic skills to the complexities of real-world clients and situations.

Community Education/Advocacy service learning classes challenge students to share the knowledge they have gained in their class with others for the sake of advancing community understanding, advocacy on one or more key issues, or community organizing/mobilization (e.g., a sustainability campaign advocating for the City of Omaha to offer glass recycling).

How do I find academic service learning courses?

How do I find academic service learning courses?

Finding classes with an academic service learning component is easy:

  1. Visit the class schedule search page
  2. At the bottom of the page, click on the scroll box next to "Attribute Type"
  3. Scroll down to the bottom and select "SERV Service Learning"
  4. After filling out the other fields of the class search page, click the "Class Search" button