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What is Service Learning?

The actual work you do may not be different from what others on campus are doing in service. However, the approach to the work should be different from that of a volunteer. It is your responsibility as a scholar to look more deeply at the issues that affect the people that you serve and to integrate that knowledge into your course content so that your opinions, judgments and solutions are based on that knowledge. You do not receive the extra credit for service; it is for the work you do to enhance learning. The learning is a process facilitated by the class, the action of service, and reflection.

  • Service Learning The integration of the development of academic skills and meaningful service to the community. Class syllabus will have goals that reflect the nature of your service.
  • Volunteerism Action on behalf of the community in a way which benefits the recipient. There is no connection to academic credit.
  • Community Service Primary focus is the service and the benefits to the person involved in service.

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What courses are available to SLC participants?

The courses available to SLC participants change every semester, although we aim to provide dynamic courses that also satisfy students' general sophomore year requirements, as specified by their academic college.  Previous courses have ranged from Ethical Traditions & Contemporary Life, Introduction to Sociology, Engineering in Humanistic Contexts, Perspectives on US Poverty, Christian Ethics, Philosophy of Education, and Management Essentials.  Please check our complete offering of courses.

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What are the service placements?

Service sites range from tutoring students at Jay Cooke Elementary School in the Logan section of Philadelphia, from Primary Grades, Elementary Grades, and Middle Grades.  Other sites include National Student Partnerships, the nation’s only year-round, student-led volunteer service organization that links people in need with the resources and opportunities necessary to become self-sufficient.  Finally, opportunities are also available at Urban Bridges, a non-profit community based organization that offers after school and summer art and academic-focused programs to school-age children and literacy training, mentoring and tutoring for adults, children, and families in the disadvantaged neighborhood of Olney-Feltonville in Philadelphia.

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What is the 4th hour?

This is the reflection piece of your service learning commitment. It is a time for reflection, to ask questions and to share your feelings about what you encounter in your service. This is time to talk about the connections you are making between your class and your service. This is time to give back to the community you are serving by thinking in terms of the bigger picture. Are the services offered to the children at Cooke Middle School equal to the services you received as a child? Who is coming to NSP, why are they coming? How do you feel about the answers to those questions? What questions does it raise for you about compulsory education, inequality, race, privilege?? Do you want to know more?? Can you bring questions back to the classroom, to your academic work that might help you answer some of the questions you have. Caution!!! Do not form answers to your questions based on assumptions, previously held stereotypes or what you think you know. That is disrespectful to a community. Do your homework, find facts and continue to ask questions, because what you find might not seem like justice.

  • Sessions are facilitated by one professional staff member and one junior coordinator
  • You will be assigned readings for the fourth hour
  • You will be expected to keep a journal
  • Fourth hour is not an option, your attendance is mandatory

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What are some of the benefits of service learning?

  • It is experiential education -Learning occurs through a cycle of action and reflection.
  • It is faith and mission in action -Participants in service learning make connections to the Mission of the University as it seeks to promote justice in the world. They care for the Common Good, promote Spiritual Growth, find common humanity in diversity through personal connections, promote the preferential option for the poor, live Catholic Social Teaching, and develop values.
  • It is citizenship development:
    • Requires reflection on issues that concern the community
    • Promotes a commitment to improve conditions in the world
    • Seeks to increase Community/Political engagement
    • Desires Reciprocity
    • Develops Leadership
  • It promotes ethical and moral development - Judging the quality of a college education by asking if students see the connection between what they learn and how they live, looking for the deeper significance, for the moral dilemmas of and the ethical responses.

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Contact Information

For more information, please contact:

Office of Service Learning
St. Augustine Center for the Liberal Arts
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085

Noreen Cameron, Director
SAC Room 386

Mary Aiello, Administrative Assistant
SAC Room 385

We have a constantly evolving list of with faculty and community partners that change each semester.