Service learning is a teaching methodology that combines conventional academic instruction with participation in meaningful community service. It embeds the opportunity to apply classroom learning in a real-world setting, and helps students develop critical interpersonal and reflective thinking skills.
Research clearly supports that service learning increases students' success in college and promotes in students a sense of civic responsibility and commitment.
In a course service learning component or focus faculty guide students through a critical analysis of what is presented in class and how it impacts students working on community issues.
Service learning experience enhances the breadth and depth of student learning in at least three domains:
- Course content mastery and higher order cognitive skills
- Life and 'soft' skills
- Sense of civic responsibility and ability to be an effective member of the communities where they will reside after graduation
The MCC service learning commitment focuses on promoting service learning as an effective teaching strategy within the existing curricula of the college.
Course learning outcomes are the basis for integrating projects that serve the college or the community at large. Preserving the academic integrity of a service learning opportunity, students are not graded on simply "putting in the hours." Rather, they are graded on specific assignments and/or projects that demonstrate learning from the community-based experience. Some courses will provide identified community partnerships and projects; others may help the student to establish his/her own project.
Research on service learning also demonstrates positive teaching and civic outcomes for college faculty and staff.