Service Learning

Service Learning


2012 Excellence in Service-Learning Award Recipients

Congratulations to the 2012 Excellence in Service-Learning Award Recipients!

Award winners were announced at the Service-Learning Award Celebration on April 12, 2012. Here is a list of all the award recipients, who demonstrated dedication to outstanding service-learning:

Community Partners:

  • Seeding Change-  Great Lakes PeaceJam
  • Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT)
  • Building Blocks


  • Dr. Edmund Tsang, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Dr. Michael Millar,  Department of Spanish
  • Dr. Timothy Palmer, Haworth College of Business


  • Jen Nitz
  • Drew Wolford
  • Colleen Griffin

The following criteria was used as a guideline to select award winners:

  • Engagement in service-learning, defined as a mutually beneficial endeavor in which course learning objectives are met by addressing community-identified needs.
  • Students must provide at least 15-20 hours of service during the semester (15-20 is the recognized academic standard; however, consideration will be given to those who serve less than 15 hours).
  • Engaged in service-learning that includes reflection of the work, interactions, and learning regarding the service.
  • Effective collaboration among community partners, students, and professors/instructors/staff.
  • Finding innovative solutions to problems.
  • Projecting a positive attitude and/or promoting a positive image of the University and service learning.


The mission of the Office of Service-Learning is to engage regional communities, the university and our student body in a mutually beneficial, innovative learning and service enterprise for the purpose of mobilizing our knowledge, talents and energies to benefit the greater community.

We strive to accomplish the following:

  • Serve as a campus resource to facilitate the implementation of service-learning and community-based activities(co-curricular learning).
  • Effectively match academic and professional development with needs identified by community stakeholders for the purpose of transitioning classroom learning into practical, professional experience.
  • Advocate for the incorporation of service-learning toward the advancement of student competencies, such as effective writing and communication, the university's goal to achieve the mandate of universal service-learning and regional constituencies such as public schools and non-profit agencies.
  • Coordinate activities between, and build community among, WMU service learning stakeholders, while seeking to enlarge this pool.
  • Provide students with opportunities to engage with for-profit sites to stimulate experiential learning and workforce development.
  • Create reflection structures that provide a contextual framework to challenge and interrogate theoretical, stereotypical and preconceived as students experience their community.
  • Capture participation of alumni, community members and fellow students in order to exchange and enhance scholarship.

Definition of Service-Learning:

Definition:  Service-Learning is a mutually beneficial endeavor in which course learning objectives are met by addressing community-identified needs--putting academics into practice. Service learning guidelines generally suggest that students provide at least 15-20 hours of service during the semester; however, this varies according to specific learning objectives. Service learning always includes critical reflection of the work, interactions, and learning regarding the service, and it is always a collaboration among community partners, students, and professors/instructors/staff.

Example:  If students collect trash out of an urban streambed, they are providing a valued service to the community as volunteers. If school students collect trash from an urban streambed, analyze their findings to determine the possible sources of pollution, and share the results with residents of the neighborhood, they are engaging in service-learning.” More...

Carnegie Foundation

WMU received the Carnegie Classification on Community Engagement, which is an elective classification which evaluates the degree of “collaboration and partnership between themselves and their broader communities (local, regional, state and global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources.”  WMU was one of 115 institutions that successfully attained this distinction in 2010.  Calvin College, Eastern Michigan University, Hope College, Madonna University, Michigan State University, University of Detroit-Mercy, University of Michigan, University of Michigan-Flint and Western Michigan University are the Michigan Institutions that have successfully attained this classification since its creation in 2006.    For more information on this story, please see:

Students! - Interested in receiving a professional development award for community-based service in the arts? Click here...

The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll






Service Learning
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5236 USA
(269) 387-2139 | (269) 387-2789 Fax