Professional Development
Academic Service-Learning 101

CETL Associate Director Meg Tarafdar and Professor Sharon Ellerton describe the importance and foundations of service-learning. They also explain the benefits to both students and faculty and raise some challenges to integrating service-learning in classrooms.
Using Reflection Activities in Your Classes

CETL Associate Director Meg Tarafdar defines reflection and ways to integrate reflection into the classroom.
Service Learning at QCC

Various faculty speak about the impact of service-learning on the campus and community at large. The video demonstrates how faculty incorporate service-learning into their curriculum.
Getting started – Designing a service-learning project

Service-learning is one of QCC’s high-impact practices. Service-learning reinforces academic learning,
addresses community needs, and instills civic responsibility. Through analysis and reflection, participants
identify and absorb what they have learned.

Grades for service-learning are based upon student reflections.

"Getting Started with Service-Learning"  summarizes the important points to consider.
"Process for Developing a Service-Learning Project"  is a useful flow chart of the project planning process.
Your project is strongest and most effective when students understand:
  • How the service-learning activities will increase students’ learning in order to meet course and
    QCC general education learning objectives
  • How the activities and tasks will meet the partner’s goals and needs
  • The specific activities and tasks that the students will complete
  • The final product of the project, such as a brochure, presentation, analysis, etc.
  • Which methods students will use to reflect on their learning and how they will be graded

Guide me through project planning:

I want to skip the guide and go directly
to the on-line project form:

Incorporating service-learning into your syllabus

How you present service-learning in your syllabus is critical in helping your students understand
why service-learning is a part of the course—how it will address local needs while developing
the students’ academic skills and civic responsibility—and what will be required of the student.

When constructing your course syllabus, include as much of the following information as possible.

Describe the main project activity or task. For example:
  • Students will…conduct research, record oral histories, make a presentation to elementary school children, design a brochure, ….
  • students will work alone, in pairs, in large groups, on a wiki, in class, for homework, etc…
Project requirements
  • Is the project optional or mandatory
  • Estimated number of hours required of each student
  • Schedule, e.g. number of hours per week, which weeks of the semester
  • If the project requires students to participate out of class time, provide specific dates and times if at all possible
Project Evaluation
  • How does service-learning contribute to a student’s overall grade in the course
  • Clarify that students are evaluated on their reflections
  • Types of guided reflections the students will do (written, oral, other…)
  • Frequency of reflections
  • How service-learning reflections will be evaluated and graded
Why service-learning is in the course
  • Which course objectives and gen. ed. objectives will the project meet
Community partner
  • Full organization name of the partner
  • What issue(s) does the partner address
  • What need of the partner will the project address
During the project - Travel Waiver, Publicity Consent, Product Review

Travel Waiver Form. If your students will travel off-campus for a project,
they must complete a travel waiver form.
Please complete the form and return a copy to the service-learning office, H-246.

Publicity Consent Form. If you plan to take photos/videos of your students in action during the project,
they must complete a publicity consent form.
Please complete the form and return a copy to the service-learning office, H-246.
Please note: No participants of the community partner may be photographed or recorded without prior permission.

Review of Draft Materials for Distribution. If your students are preparing visual and/or written material
for distribution, please review a draft with the service-learning staff.
Please note: The QCC/CUNY logo may not be used on any materials produced by your students.

QCC Faculty Publications on Service-Learning Schwartz, Jeffrey. (2013) Extended Abstract–Teaching Computer Programming to a Diverse Student Body Through Service Learning.
First Year Engineering Experience Conference (FYEE).

Rochford, Regina, A. (2013) Service learning for remedial reading and writing students. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 37(5).

Zinger, Lana and Sinclair, Alicia. (2010). Using Service Learning As A Method of Transferring Health Knowledge.
Contemporary Issues in Education Research. 3(5): 21-25.

Issues in Engaged Scholarship (July 2011) features articles by several QCC faculty members, including:
  • Elizabeth DiGiorgio, Art and Design Department. Picture Me in College: A Portrait Project with Homeless Children and Teens.  
  • Arlene Kemmerer, Basic Skills Learning Center; Josephine Pantaleo, Basic Skills Learning Center; and Roseanne Vogel, Department of Speech Communication and Theater. Turning on Students with High-Impact Strategies.
  • Joan Petersen, Department of Biological Sciences. Establishing a Microbiology Honors Tract to Engage Health Science Majors in Service-Learning Activities.  
  • Simran Kaur, Department of Biological Sciences. Promoting a Sustainable Lifestyle to Elementary School and College Students.

Resources for faculty considering publishing or presenting on service-learning (including peer-reviewed journals):