ICCE Home >> Faculty - Community Service Learning
|Community Service Learning Pedagogy|
|Creating a CSL Course|
|Benefits of CSL|
|Principles and Practice|
Community service learning (CSL) is the integration of classroom study with service in the community that has been proven to increase learning outcomes. Research on CSL has repeatedly demonstrated that “students’ thinking and reasoning becomes more complex after taking community service-learning courses”. (From “Impact of Service-Learning and Social Justice Education on College,” Wang and Rodgers, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Journal article, 2006.)
Although there are similarities with other forms of experiential learning, such as volunteering and internships, CSL differs in important ways. First, unlike a volunteering, CSL requires a strong academic component, i.e. intentional connection to academic study. Second, through a process of structured reflection, the service experience is integrated with classroom learning to develop a student’s professional skills, civic knowledge, and foster a sense of personal social responsibility. Thus, CSL sits at the intersection of three components: academic learning, experiential learning, and civic learning.
CSL at SF State During 2011-2012 Academic Year
CSL Course Sections
Students enrolled in CSL Courses
Student CSL Hours
(average of 57 hours per student)
Clients Served 131,811
The Community Service Learning Program (CSL) coordinates campus-wide CSL into the undergraduate and graduate curricula at San Francisco State by: (a) helping faculty identify and/or develop their CSL courses; (b) identifying appropriate placement sites for the service component; and (c) helping community partners (businesses, non-profits, and public/government agencies) connect with appropriate departments and faculty.
Faculty wishing to develop a CSL course should follow the steps below:
Step #1: Design - Develop a course design that includes a service component and reflection activity. For assistance, please contact Perla Barrientos at 415-338-3282 or email: email@example.com
Step #2: Designation - Officially have the course designated as a Community Service Learning (CSL) course. If this has not been done, please contact Perla Barrientos at 415-338-3282 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Step #3: Identify Community Partner(s) - Search our online Community Connections Database (CCDB) for appropriate placements. (ICCE staff can do this for you.) The CCDB lists organizations that meet SF State's risk management requirements and who have signed a formal CSL agreement with ICCE. Contact Bonnie Hale via email at email@example.com
Step #4: Student Placement - Have students register in the Community Connections Database (CCDB), where they are informed of their rights and are given guidelines for student conduct.
Step #5: Track service hours - Provide students with a method of documenting their activities and hours of service. (This can be done by faculty or by the site supervisor.) Service hours can be recorded in SF State’s online e-grade system.
Capacity building for community organizations
The enhancement of civic learning
The development of innovative approaches to instruction
Opportunities for collaboration, research, and publication
- Learning Objectives: Students learn best when academic objectives are clear and specific. Integrate questions of moral, ethical, and civic responsibility into the reflection assignment.
- The Service Experience: Before placing students, consider the organization’s (a) stability and organizational structure; (b) reputation in the community; (c) ability to provide resources to students that support their work; and 4) the relevance of the service to broader civic and social issues. Make sure that tasks relate to learning objectives.
- Context: Create balance between the students’ class time, community work, and the reflection assignment.
- Relationship with Community Agencies: Relationships between faculty and community-based organizations work best when they are ongoing and when each party feels they are sharing equitably. Respond to the need as defined by the community organization. Share your syllabus and learning objectives for the course.
- Supervision: Each student must have a supervisor at the community service site. To assure continuity and support, agencies are encouraged to accept more than one student per placement and to invite students to staff meetings. Supervisors are asked to contribute to student evaluations, provide orientations and/or training for the student, and be available for solving problems.
- Academic Credit: Give academic credit for what is learned, not simply for services performed.