What is service-learning? Why do it?

Service-learning is a mutually beneficial endeavor in which course learning objectives are met by addressing community-identified needs--putting academics into practice. Projects require a minimum of 15 hours of service work outside the classroom, and provide students with opportunities to be a part of the solution to challenges identified by our community partners. Service-learning always includes critical reflection of the experience and empowers community members, students and faculty to create change.

Benefits of service-learning

Four myths about service-learning

Service-learning course examples

How to get started

New to service-learning? Here are some documents to help you get started:


Pre-project planning, best practices

Project planning checklist

Service-learning pitfalls, interventions and preventions

Official documents

Background checks and pre-service requirements

Human Subjects Institutional Review Board (HSIRB)

Liability guidelines, WMU

Students and stakeholders

Sample student and partner sign-up forms

Sample time log with evaluation (student)

Stakeholder expectations

Student participation agreement


Reflection, best practices

Sample syllabi

Sample syllabus: Archaeological Field School

Sample syllabus: Health and Wellbeing

Sample syllabus: Introduction to Engineering Design

Sample syllabus: Practicum with Special Populations

Sample syllabus: Seminar in Nonprofit Leadership

How the Office of Service-Learning will help

Does this seem like a lot to process? Don't worry; we are committed to helping you in any way we can. Here are some documents to give you additional information about the Office of Service-Learning:

Introduction to the Office of Service-Learning

Peer institutions, best practices

Policies, Office of Service-Learning

Service-learning awards nomination criteria and form

Service-learning professional learning community


Evaluation: Community partners

Evaluation: Faculty

Evaluation: Students

Please call (269) 387-4455 or email for more information. We look forward to hearing from you.