Developing a Syllabus
Syllabus development is one of the most critical and difficult aspects of successfully implementing an academic service-learning course. Below is a suggested list of questions that should be considered when developing a service-learning syllabus.
Questions to consider when developing an academic service-learning syllabus:
- Have I sufficiently clarified mutual objectives with community partners?
- Have I connected service components with the course objectives?
- Have I clearly stated expectations for students?
- How should I encourage students to respectfully engage with community partners, appreciating the learning opportunity that exists in the relationship?
- How can I incorporate writing into students' grades to ensure adequate time commitment?
Exemplary academic service-learning syllabi should:
- Clearly state expectations of students.
- Include service as an expressed goal.
- Clearly define how the service experience will be measured and what will be measured.
- Describe the nature of the service placement and/or project.
- Specify how students will be expected to demonstrate what they have learned in the placement/project (journal, papers, and presentations).
- Present course assignments that link the service placement and the course content.
- Include a description of the reflective process.
Resources for constructing a strong service-learning syllabus
- Service-Learning Courses and Sample Syllabi from Binghamton University
- "Constructing a Service-Learning Syllabus" from Duke University
- Campus Compact (Service-learning syllabi arranged by discipline)
- Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH maintains a growing collection of service-learning syllabi and course materials).
- Service-Learning Syllabi Examples from West Virginia University
In addition to these resources, the Center for Civic Engagement maintains numerous hard copies of examples of Binghamton University academic service-learning syllabi.