Faculty and Staff Resources

Utilizing Academic Service-Learning pedagogy

Academic Service-Learning (AS-L) is a form of experiential education that is shaped to meet the needs of the community and to fulfill the learning objectives of a course.  Utilizing Academic Service-Learning in courses can:

  • Increase student engagement and participation.
  • Connect coursework to personally meaningful experiences for students and the instructor.
  • Offer alternative learning platforms to accommodate varying learning styles.
  • Incorporate teaching methods for improved understanding of course concepts.
  • Provide data and material for scholarly work and research.
  • Impact meaningful change within the community.
  • Play a part in retention of our students.
UW-Superior faculty member and school pupil, Academic Service-Learning

Many faculty and instructional academic staff are using AS-L

Academic Service-Learning is used by faculty and instructional staff in every academic department at UW-Superior.

What makes a course Academic Service-Learning?

  • Is an intentional pedagogy.
  • Is a form of experiential education.
  • Meets community-identified needs.
  • Focuses equally on learning and service.
  • Can enhance students' understanding of course learning goals.
  • Uses reflection to integrate the service into the learning and the learning into the service.
  • Is reciprocal, benefiting both the student and the community recipient.
  • Helps build partnerships between our college and community-based organizations.

Academic Service-Learning is not:

  • An internship, clinical or field study which focuses on learning rather than service.
  • Volunteerism which focuses on service and the service recipient but not on the student and learning.
  • Free, convenient labor or work-for-pay.
  • An "add-on" to a course.
  • A stand-alone, one-time project that does not relate to the course learning goals.
UW-Superior students AS-L poster transportation and logistics project

Getting Started

Are you new to AS-L or have you already agreed to collaborate with a company or organization for your course? Interested in using AS-L but unsure of where to start? The following information can help. And, as always, we are here to assist. Please Contact Us.

Memorandums of Agreement list the outcomes of the partnership and course learning goals, which should align with each other:

AS-L Course Designation Form: Officially designate your course as Academic Service-Learning through a review and official mark of approval from our Undergraduate Academic Affairs Council (more information below).

Research and Learning Resources

  • Research Guide: Gain a basic understanding of AS-L research from these reference lists provided by the Jim Dan Hill Library.
  • CAS-L Library: Check the list of books and journals that are available to borrow from the Academic Service-Learning.
  • High Impact Practice: Academic Service-Learning has been shown to increase student engagement and persistence and to be particularly beneficial to historically under-served populations.

How to Obtain the Official AS-L Course Designation

Obtaining an AS-L course designation allows your program to utilize the AS-L distinction within the course catalog.  It also notifies students of an AS-L requirement. To officially designate your course as having an AS-L component, please complete the following process:

  1. Incorporate AS-L into your syllabus using the AS-L Standards for Quality Practice.
  2. Complete the Academic Service-Learning Course Designation Form.
  3. Submit your syllabus, with the designation form, to the Coordinator of the Center for Academic Service-Learning, to review your syllabus and designation form.
    1. Your submission will then be brought to the Undergraduate Academic Affairs Council (UAAC) for approval
    2. After UAAC approval, a request will be made to the Registrar's Office to include the AS-L designation within the course catalog and the student registration system.

Engaged Department and Course Redesign Grants

Colleges and their faculty are moving towards being more intentional in designing courses with Academic Service-Learning pedagogy, ensuring that the community experience is meaningful, ongoing, and assists with meeting department and institutional outcomes.

To utilize best practices of Academic Service-Learning pedagogy, which uses departmentally appropriate definitions of engagement and then intentionally connects these definitions to the curriculum and to community-based experiences, an $8,000 Engaged Department/Program grant is available most years to eligible departments or academic programs at UW-Superior. The grant covers a two-year period, and applications are accepted each spring semester.

Past Engaged Department Grant Application

In addition to our engaged department grants, we also at times offer course redesign grants. These typically are awarded in the Fall and Spring semesters. Watch your e-mail for more information.