Academic Service-Learning at QCC

What is Service-Learning?

Service-Learning is one of the High Impact Practices (HIPs) at QCC. 

Service-learning supports the mission of Queensborough Community College.

"Service-Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities." (Learn and Serve America)

Service-learning is:

  • A pedagogy that allows students to apply knowledge or skills they are learning in their classes to projects that assist local community-based organizations.
  • Projects that meet the college's general education objectives and the distinct learning objectives of the courses that incorporate it.
  • Collaboration between faculty and community partner, to design a project based on the partner's specific goals and needs.
  • Activities and assignments which meet both partner needs and course/general education objectives.
  • An opportunity for an entire class or for several students within a class.
  • Activities that may involve going "on-site" to the organization, or that may be carried out in class with little or no time at the site (e.g., a math class analyzing data for an immigrant-serving community health organization).

Service-learning is not:

  • Free labor
  • Internships
  • Volunteerism or community service (meet the needs of others and communities; do not emphasize learning and reflection)
  • One-sided: benefiting only students or only the community

Why is service-learning important?
 A growing body of research recognizes service-learning as an effective strategy to help students by:
• Promoting learning through active participation in service experiences
• Providing structured time for students to reflect by thinking, discussing and writing about their service experience
• Providing an opportunity for students to use skills and knowledge in real-life situations
• Extending learning beyond the classroom and into the community
• Fostering a sense of caring for others

Service-learning also:
• Builds effective collaborative partnerships between colleges and community-based organizations
• Meets community needs through service projects

QCC Building with Blossoms

A Chronology of Academic Service-Learning at QCC

QCC is selected as one of only eight colleges nationally to receive a prestigious grant by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to develop service-learning initiatives.

2006 - 2009
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) national initiative, Community Colleges Broadening Horizons through Service Learning, is supported by the Learn and Serve America program of the Corporation for National and Community Service.  Under this grant, QCC creates the QCC-ExCEL academic service-learning program.

Two AACC publications highlighting the grantee college programs (including QCC) are available:  A Project Brief summarizes the Horizons colleges and their service-learning programs.  Improving Student Learning Outcomes with Service Learning reveals that students who participate in service learning score higher on institutional learning outcomes such as critical thinking, communication, civic responsibility, academic development, and educational success. Service learners also saw themselves as more competitive in the job market than those who did not have service learning experience.

In 2009, QCC becomes a mentor college to Broadening Horizons colleges.

Fall 2009
QCC implements the Freshman Academies model for first-time, full-time students. Service-learning is designated one of the high-impact strategies recommended for Academy students.

Fall 2010 - Present
QCC receives Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 2006 to expand academic service-learning to CTE classes.  During this period, service-learning is integrated into classroom learning in nearly all academic departments at QCC.

QCC implements the Academy model for all students. Service-learning remains a high-impact strategy recommended to academy students.