Office of Service Learning

Service Learning for our Students

What is Service Learning?

Service Learning is the term used to describe a community-based approach to education that combines meaningful community service, critical reflection, and civic education to enhance the academic learning in a particular course. As a student at Fairfield, you may:

  • Engage in direct service with populations in the community related to the course learning objectives
  • Bring professional skills to non-profit agencies
  • Engage in a collaborative research project to advocate change or solve problems

In contrast to volunteer work, service learning is an academically rigorous, credit-bearing experience. Reflection is essential, as is the development of partnerships with the community based on cooperative education for the common good.

Through service learning, you have the opportunity to:

  • Enhance your understanding of classroom concepts by putting them into practice
  • Utilize individual and unique skills and talents to work in solidarity with the community to create a more just and equitable world
  • Develop a reflective practice that enables you to think critically about specific structural injustices, as well as a broad range of situations you may face throughout your life

The Office of Service Learning supports students by:

  • Identifying appropriate community organizations in relation to service-learning courses
  • Creating connections to service-learning internship opportunities
  • Finding student leadership and mentorship opportunities

Look for Service Learning Courses in the Course Booklet (designated as SERL)

Students - Consider publishing about your service learning experiences in an academic journal!

Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research

The Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research will publish written work by undergraduates in the following six categories. In each category, a published piece will contribute to the existing knowledge in a particular subject area.

  1. Reflective Essays
  2. Analytical Essays
  3. Research done for a community organization in the form given to that organization, accompanied by a short, reflective essay
  4. Research Articles
  5. Open Category
  6. Comments & Responses, beginning with Volume

Faculty mentors, scholar-teachers familiar with service learning and community-based research, are a crucial part of the journal's review process. We seek faculty mentors in a wide range of disciplines. For Volume 1, all submissions will first be read by the editor. She will send submissions that seem to fit the journal's general specifications to a faculty mentor. Every effort will be made to send submissions to faculty mentors in the student's discipline. At this point, a faculty mentor will make one of four decisions: Accept, Accept with Minor Revisions, Revise and Resubmit, or Reject. Faculty mentors will one directly with potential authors through the revision process. We will generally commit to publishing an article if the student puts in sufficient time and effort to revise the draft based on the faculty mentor's suggestions.

Special Event:

This semester, the Office of Service Learning is sponsoring a trip to a student conference at Central Connecticut State University.

Social Justice: Exploring Unheard Voices

Central Connecticut State University
March 1, 2012
The Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy
Free for Connecticut students, faculty, and staff

Exploring Unheard Voices will give students an opportunity to listen to empowering stories of citizens that are unheard. Students will learn of opportunities of how to affect change in their communities with the right skills. Universities provide an atmosphere of learning and empowerment so that individuals can become active and productive members of society. When students learn to take full advantage of their situations they are becoming our future leaders. "Social Justice: Exploring Unheard Voices" is a conference that will focus on using personal stories to improve communities. As individuals we use our stories to develop best practices for exploring life. It is important to bring our state together to share ideas and enhance the work that is being done to make our students informed and engaged citizens in our communities.

Adrian Kirby Literacy Project '06