Reflection Guide for Developing Service Learning

A Reflection Guide for Service-Learning Courses at UIW

(This Draft was developed 4/1/15)

What is Service Learning?

Service-Learning (SL) courses provide students with a service experience in the community beyond the classroom that is guided by the UIW Mission goals of promoting social justice and service and is aimed at developing concerned and enlightened citizens. The following criteria define what counts as a SL course:

  1. Service in the community is required and connected to learning course content.
  2. Faculty facilitate reflection whereby students draw connections between the learning in the community, classroom learning, and UIW Mission values.

What to Look for in a SL Course Syllabus/Outline

Complete information for student benefit will include in writing on the syllabus/outline:

  1. Reference to SL in the course description
  2. Identification of a student learning outcome(s) and assessment
  3. The required number of community service hours
  4. The value of service & reflection on the final grade
  5. A description/explanation of what service involves
  6. Guidance on how to do reflection including reference to the UIW Mission. Reflection may be facilitated by faculty in class or outside (journal writing, discussion board exchanges, etc.).

UIW as a Catholic Institution

UIW draws inspiration from a long Judeo-Christian tradition of thinking about doing good in the community. The 10 themes of Catholic Social Teaching summarize that teaching: Non-Catholic students will recognize these values/principles as similar to those inspired by other faith traditions as well as those in faith-neutral documents such as in the 30 Articles of the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Reflection Guide Questions

For a comprehensive reflection, faculty can have students address all questions in the Guide below. A shorter reflection may focus on the shaded items including the one related to the UIW Mission (see page 2).

What? did I see/hear/do—

  1. What service did I do?
  2. What people did I meet?
  3. What are the relationships between these people and the agency/organization?
  4. What did I talk about with these people?

So What? my reaction—

  1. What did I learn about the agency?
  2. What did I learn about the people that work with the agency?
  3. What did I learn about the people that receive the services of the agency?
  4. What did I learn about myself during these experiences?
  5. How did the experiences relate to my personal faith commitment/life values?
  6. What 2 or 3 ideas from the UIW mission relate to my experiences?
  7. What skills and knowledge from class did I get to use; or, I did not have?

Now What? thinking about— the facts, thoughts/feelings, the future

  1. What impact will the agency have on the community?
  2. What impact might society have on the continuing need for the agency?
  3. What suggestions might help improve the services of the agency?
  4. What impact will these experiences have on my own personal and professional growth?

UIW Mission Statement

( Endorsed by the Board, 3/1/96; revised: 3/11/10, 12/5/14)

The first Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, three young French women motivated by the love of God and their recognition of God's presence in each person, came to San Antonio in 1869 to minister to the sick and the poor. Their spirit of Christian service is perpetuated in the University of the Incarnate Word primarily through teaching and scholarship, encompassing research and artistic expression. Inspired by Judeo-Christian values, the Catholic intellectual tradition, and Catholic Social Teaching, the university aims to educate men and women who will become concerned and enlightened citizens in the global community.

The university is committed to educational excellence in a context of faith in Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word of God. Through a liberal education the university cultivates the values of life-long learning, development of the whole person, faculty and students supporting one another in the search for and the communication of truth, thoughtful innovation that serves the spiritual and material needs of people, care for the environment, the demands of living out social justice, service in the community, and understanding global challenges.

The University of the Incarnate Word is a Catholic institution that welcomes to its community persons of diverse backgrounds, in the belief that their respectful interaction advances the discovery of truth, mutual understanding, self-realization, and the common good.