Applied Learning

Service Learning

What is Service Learning? 

A service-learning activity integrates academic theory and community service. Engagement in service learning can occur as part of a credit-bearing academic course or extra-curricular activity, but the direct connection between academic theory and the community service experience must be clear and articulated in the expected outcomes.  

Service Learning at UNCW 

Visit the Applied Learning Student Success Gallery to search for past examples of Service Learning experiences at UNCW. 

Campus Resources for Service Learning 

Civic engagement provides UNCW students with a learning laboratory where they can apply theory in practice through service to others. North Carolina Campus Compact defines three approaches students can use to civically engage: 

  • Service Learning: community engagement that occurs as part of a credit-bearing academic course; a service-learning course includes academic theory, community service, critical reflection, and evaluation/assessment; 
  • Community Service: hands-on community engagement done outside of coursework; 
  • Philanthropy: raising and donating money or collecting and donating items for a community population or organization. 

Service learning at UNCW occurs in various academic programs, schools, and colleges. Typically, faculty decide if they want to incorporate service learning into their course(s). The Office of Student Leadership and Engagement (OSLE) can serve as a liaison to faculty who are interested in locating a nonprofit organization or agency to partner with service learning courses. Given there is no single clearinghouse for service learning on campus, students interested in these types of courses should first seek information from their academic advisors or academic programs in order to find service learning opportunities.