Service and Service Learning Guidelines

Service learning is a high impact educational practice and it relates to UIW mission and values. This section will help a UIW faculty member understand this tradition at UIW: What is meant by a service learning experience or project and by a service learning class?

What is meant by student community service and how many hours are required for UIW undergraduate students for graduation?

Faculty are encouraged to have service learning because students’ community service hours can have deeper and richer meaning within a class structure. Teachers deliberately guide students through reflection to deeper levels of critical analysis, social justice, and integration/spirituality. These UIW Core Outcomes help guide faculty as they instruct students before, during and after the service experience.

Faculty may have one or more service learning experience or projects within a class when this would enhance content:

  • A teacher considers how one or more class outcomes could be accomplished through the experience of service outside the classroom.
  • Teachers help students learn through reflection before, during and after the service experience.

Faculty may seek to have a section of a class they are teaching in a particular semester designated as a Service Learning Class. The designation may help draw students and may provide pathways for support over time.

To qualify as a Service Learning Class, faculty must:

  • Assign service associated with one or more of the class outcomes.
  • Assign five or more hours of service. (While this might include some time spend in training for the service, at least 75% on the time should be the service itself.)
  • Assign some type of reflection on the service (e.g. guide a student towards thinking about concern for the well-being of the community, social justice issues, engagement for good citizenship, finding meaning in their lives, etc.).
  • UIW undergraduates must satisfy a graduation requirement of 45 hours of community service. More information about the community service requirement can be found here.

Faculty are encouraged to have the hours of service embedded within their classes as service learning because that gives students opportunities to learn more.

Faculty are invited to fill out a Request Form for Class Sections to be Designated as a Service Learning Class. When you submit this form, the Service Learning Committee and the Ettling Center will be able to help promote your class sections.

Choosing Service Activities

The Ettling Center can assist faculty in finding service opportunities which fulfill their educational outcomes. The Center has contacts with many community partners who need volunteer service. See some of the places for service.

Some academic accrediting agencies require service learning in the program. In these cases, instructors might oversee service learning within the entire program rather than in a single class.

Some faculty set up particular service opportunities while others guide students to the community partners listed on the Ettling Center website. The primary issue is how students fulfill the learning outcomes of the class.

Faculty help students find connections between service and the course content. This might include writing, discussion and/or other structured time for students to reflect on the service experience including how this relates to UIW mission values and Catholic Social Teaching. Reflection should also relate to learning about civic responsibility.

Faculty and Students Record Service Learning

Full-time faculty are encouraged to include both service learning projects and service learning classes in the annual the Faculty Self Inventory.

Students should record their service hours, instructions on how to do so can be found here. Faculty might want to remind students to record service learning hours and how these experiences with a class help them towards their graduation requirement of 45 hours of service.

Background on Service at UIW

The service has the following traits:

Helping Meet Community Needs

Service must be done after high school and within the last 5 years (for undergraduates); outside one’s home; not for pay; as an individual or with a group; in conjunction with nonprofit, governmental, and community-based organizations; supervised or with a contact person who can verify the service completed.

Promoting the Well-Being of the Community

Catholic Social Teaching calls UIW to serve those in most need in the wider community; but needs are everywhere: neighborhood, UIW, and the wider community including global areas. UIW encourages students to do most of their service in the wider community.

Needs may include: child care, literacy training, education, health care, welfare, social services, transportation, housing and neighborhood improvement, public safety, crime prevention and control, recreation, rural development, community improvement, animal care and care for the environment.

Learning about Civic Responsibility

At UIW, students reflect on their service (stated on the documentation form and with other methods) with the goal of making volunteer service a life-long commitment.

For more information, see other areas listed on the left of the Faculty Resources pages.

For assistance in initiating service learning, feel free to contact the Ettling Center for Civic Leadership and Sustainability at (210) 283-6423 or visit the office in room 158 of the Administration Building. Or contact