At UW-Whitewater, Service-Learning is anchored in credit-bearing courses that provide an educational experience in which students:
- participate in organized community-based projects that meet the needs of our community, and
- reflect on the service in order to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation for the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility (Bringle & Hatcher, 1995).
In addition to course content, the classroom offers a place for students to reflect on their role in a larger society and how their skills and knowledge can make a difference.
Service-Learning is a high impact practice that helps students understand course material, while also encouraging engaged citizenship. Students in Service-Learning courses:
- develop skills for a diverse work place, (Hurtado & DeAngelo, 2012),
- report an increased sense of personal efficacy and awareness of personal values (Astin et al., 2000), and
- report being motivated to work harder and experience a deeper understanding of the subject matter (Eyler & Giles, 1999).
Along with Service-Learning, UW-W Community-Based research and Community Engagement Assessment collects data that is used to improve services and programs offered to the community through the process of collecting and analyzing data, students practice research and problem solving skills. The Community-Based Learning Fellows Program is year-long faculty development program designed to explore best practices in community based learning and to revise an existing course to develop a service-learning or community-based research component.
UW-Whitewater annually hosts a Community Breakfast: at this networking event, UW-Whitewater professors and representatives from local community agencies will be given the opportunity to discuss current needs and create partnerships for future collaborative service learning and/or community based research projects.