The Civic Engagement and Career Development Center supports faculty with the development and implementation of service-learning and civic engagement pedagogies. This includes the incorporation of service-learning and civic engagement into the curriculum of existing courses as well as the development of new service-learning courses to offer to the students. Service-learning, at its most basic, is a form of experiential learning that allows students to apply the theories taught within the classroom to a real world setting. The application of learning within the classroom distinguishes service-learning from traditional community service and volunteerism. Through experiencing issues such as poverty or illiteracy first-hand, for example, students learn not only about the problems affecting their community, but they also learn how they can take an active role in addressing such problems. Classroom conversations and readings enhance this understanding by providing a theoretical framework to real-life problems.
Reflection is a key component within service-learning pedagogies. In fact, service-learning cannot happen without reflection. The Civic Engagement and Career Development Center also supports faculty in developing effective strategies to incorporate reflection with the curriculum and guides faculty members through process of on-going in-class reflection. Research demonstrates that service-learning courses contribute significantly to the development of students personal and interpersonal skills. The action and reflection associated with service-learning activities promotes practical skills such as critical-thinking, effective oral and written communication as well as interpersonal skills such as self-awareness and moral understanding.
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