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 a critical reflection of the experience and empowers community members, students, and faculty to create change.

Benefits of service learning

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.