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.
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. Read more about the scope of their efforts.
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.
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 our AS-L Coordinator, Jenice Meyer.
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 Center for 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 underserved 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:
- Incorporate AS-L into your syllabus using the AS-L Standards for Quality Practice.
- Complete the Academic Service-Learning Course Designation Form.
- Submit your syllabus, with the designation form, to Jenice Meyer, the Coordinator of the Center for Academic Service-Learning, to review your syllabus and designation form.
- Your submission will then be brought to the Undergraduate Academic Affairs Council (UAAC) for approval
- 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.
Learn how others are using AS-L in their courses: 2012-2014 Faculty Highlights
Dr. Eleni Pinnow
Dr. Pinnow incorporates Academic Service-Learning into her Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) course each Spring. ABA is the use of conditioning and learning principles to modify socially significant behavior. Students learn to use positive reinforcement and other techniques to promote socially appropriate behavior. Students either serve at a local animal shelter to try and make the pets more adoptable or help children improve study skills, curb unwanted behavior, and modify other unconstructive behaviors.
Ms. Gloria Eslinger
Students in Ms. Gloria Eslinger's Cooperative Mural Creation class work with a partner on a large collaborative mural. In Fall 2012, students partnered with the Jim Dan Hill Library to infuse color and creativity into the university study space. The students planned and designed the project from start to finish. Previous partnerships include: UW-Superior's Admissions, Athletics, and Office of International Programs.
Dr. Richard Stewart & Dr. Randy Gabrys-Alexson
Students in Dr. Gabrys Alexson and Dr. Stewart's Urban Planning & Transportation Systems course worked together on a feasibility study for the Duluth International Airport. Students researched adding a children's center to the new terminal that would cater to children ages 2 to 12. The students developed a model for the proposed children's center.
"Previous urban planning projects studied the feasibility of a water taxi between Superior and Duluth and altering DTA bus routes to better accommodate UWS students. Six years ago, the class project focused on Duluth and Superior terminals for the proposed Northern Lights rail system which received high profile attention from the public and media" (M. Lockwood)
Dr. Shin-Ping Tucker
Students from Dr. Tucker's webpage design course learn how to create and maintain a webpage design. In small groups, the students work to create a webpage design for a local organization in the community that normally would have a difficult time acquiring the talent and technical knowledge needed to create web sites to promote their mission. Using AS-L allows Dr. Tucker's students to apply their creativity and management acumen to integrate and apply what they are learning in a real-life setting.
Mr. Rick Moran
Every fall and spring semester, students from Mr. Rick Moran's Business & Economics courses create an AS-L product for a local community nonprofit or small business. These products allow the students to get "real-world" experience by working with a real client on an advertising, marketing, or public relations project. In the past, students have worked to successfully to leverage social media and online marketing, developed specific advertising strategies to increase wholesale and retail customers for a small business, and created a new brand/image to generate new ideas to enhance existing sales efforts.