Academic Service-Learning (ASL) and Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) Course Designation
The Association of American Colleges & Universities has identified community-engaged learning as a high impact educational practice. As a nation-wide norm, colleges and universities designate community-engaged 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 brings our institution closer to compliance with national engagement standards and eligibility for high level awards and recognitions. 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 and CEL designation also allows students to make informed and intentional decisions in selecting courses that engage the community. Offering ASL and CEL designated courses brings Binghamton closer to our strategic goal of "enhance the University's economic, social and cultural impact through engagement from the local to the global level."
What is the difference between ASL and CEL?
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. The application form provides guidelines for how ASL and CEL courses should ideally be structured in order to receive designation in either category.
Academic service-learning (ASL) is a credit-bearing academic course 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.
ASL courses are at least 2 credits. CEL courses are at least 1 credit.
In ASL courses, service is required of all students enrolled in the course, and should total at least 15 hours. In CEL courses, not all students will necessarily participate in the service component of the class, and there is no minimum number of service hours required.
Benefits to community and students
In ASL courses, course content is directly linked to the service, which addresses community issues identified by community members. Course learning objective(s) are directly linked to service and mastery is expected and evaluated. In CEL courses, the service experience provides some benefit to local residents or organizations and is linked to course content. The service is intentionally designed to advance student understanding and should be assessed.
In ASL courses, structured reflection is required with all students. In CEL courses, it is strongly encouraged.
In ASL courses, evaluation of students' roll in the service component of the course is required and should be linked to learning objective(s), include input from community partners and contribute to students' final grades. In CEL courses, evaluation is strongly encouraged.
ASL and CEL courses at Binghamton University
Designation process timeline
(typically 3-4 weeks)
- Instructor submits syllabus and application
- Application is reviewed by CCE staff
- Instructor and CCE staff meet to discuss the details of the course, finalize application
- Course is approved, syllabus is posted on CCE website and designation code appears in the BU BRAIN