Academic Service-Learning (ASL) and Community-Engaged Learning (CEL)

Thoughtful and rigorous research indicates that both ASL and CEL are highly effective teaching practices beneficial for students of varied backgrounds. In fact, the AACU has identified service-learning as a high impact educational practice. As a nation-wide norm, colleges and universities designate Service-Learning courses which meet agreed upon standards vetted by the field's expert practitioners and faculty members from their respective institutions. Thus, designating Binghamton University ASL and CEL courses will bring the institution closer to compliance with national engagement standards and eligibility for high level awards and recognitions. In addition to highlighting the rigor and benefits of ASL & CEL instruction, designation of these courses raises awareness about the significant effort being made by faculty, schools and departments on campus to enhance student learning and deepen university-community engagement. ASL & CEL designation also allows students to make informed and intentional decisions in selecting courses that engage the community. Offering ASL & CEL designated courses brings Binghamton closer to becoming an "Engaged University of the 21st Century."


See current examples of ASL and CEL courses
at Binghamton University.


ASL or CEL? Determining which designation is right for your course(s)

Before deciding which designation is the right fit for your course(s), it is recommended that you read through both application forms for ASL and CEL course designation. The application forms provide guidelines for how ASL and CEL courses should ideally be structured in order to receive designation in either category.  
ASL is a nationally recognized pedagogy characterized by somewhat rigid formal and theoretical components which foster campus-community reciprocity, reflection, and student development. Those new to ASL may find it challenging to meet all of its formal requirements. Additionally, some may find that ASL is simply not an appropriate fit for the course they would like to teach. CEL is a more flexible alternative which still results in outcomes beneficial to students and the community. For more clarification, please see the definitions below and read through each designation form. If you have questions about either course designation, please don't hesitate to contact us at

Academic Service-Learning (ASL) is an academic course characterized by all of the following conditions: credit-bearing with required student participation in an organized direct or indirect service activity or project that meets a community need and is connected to course content and specific learning outcome(s) with structured reflection and evaluation.

Community Engaged Learning (CEL) is a credit-bearing academic course in which students are involved in a community setting such that the experience is linked to course content, enriches learning, and benefits the community in some way.

(Both definitions adapted from Eyler & Giles, 1999)

FULL GLOSSARY of ASL and CEL terms and definitions

Last Updated: 11/14/14