Develop a Syllabus

Syllabus development is one of the most critical and difficult aspects of successfully implementing an academic community-engaged learning course. Below is a suggested list of questions that should be considered when developing a syllabus.

Questions to consider:

  • 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 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 syllabus

In addition to these resources, the Center for Civic Engagement maintains numerous hard copies of examples of Binghamton University academic service-learning syllabi.