Faculty Manual

Download the entire document here: Faculty Manual (pdf)
    Go to Advanced Topics (link) 

Table of Contents

Go to a specific section of the Faculty Manual:

        Mission and Vision  
        Service Learning: Past, Present, and Future

    Faculty Roadmap - A Quick Reference Guide (pdf)

    Section 1: What is Service Learning? 
        LCCC’s Standard Definition
        Service Learning Course Definitions 
        Four Key Components of ALL LCCC Service Learning Projects
        Service Learning is a Form of Experiential Education
        Service Learning Project Examples 
        Past LCCC Project Examples
        Thinking Outside the Box
        Common Questions and Concerns

    Section 2: Benefits of Service Learning
        Service Learning is a Win-Win-Win Partnership 
        Student Benefits 
                Academic, Personal and Professional 
                Additional Benefits at LCCC 
                Certificate & Medallion Policy    
        Faculty Benefits
                Overall Benefits
                Letters of Recognition from the College President
                Faculty Profiles
                Service Learning Advisory Committee - Level II Committee
        Community Benefits
                Overall Benefits 
                Additional Benefits at LCCC 
        College Benefits

    Section 3: Teaching with Service Learning
        Ten Principles of Good Service Learning Pedagogy
         Constructing a Service Learning Experience 
                Connecting to Learning Outcomes  
                Connecting to the Community Need 
                Decision Making: Logistics and Assessment 
        Syllabus & Project Description Checklist 
        Faculty Semester Timeline
        Reporting Procedures

    Section 4: Community Partner Collaborations
        The Service Learning Partnership 
        Connecting to Community Need
                Contact the Service Learning Office 
                Established Community Partners
                Community Partner Directory & Wishlists
                Forming Your Own Partnership
        Working with Community Partners 
                Tip Sheet for Community Partner Collaboration
                Community Partners in a Teaching Role       
        Risk Management 
                Hold Harmless Agreement
                Preparing Students for Service

    Section 5: Support Services 
        Your Service Learning Support Team 
                Service Learning Faculty Liaison 
                Community Engagement Coordinator 
                Project Reporting & Submission
                Service Learning Advisory Committee (SLAC)


LCCC Mission Statement
Lorain County Community College, an innovative leader in education, economic, community, and cultural development, serves as a regional catalyst for change in a global environment through accessible and affordable academic and career-oriented education, lifelong learning, and community partnerships.

Service Learning Program
We enhance learning and promote civic engagement by connecting LCCC/UP and the greater community.

We are a happy, healthy, learning community sustained through dynamic relationships.

Service Learning: Past, Present, and Future


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Section 1: What is Service Learning?

LCCC’s Standard Definition
Service Learning (SL) is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates community service with academic instruction while focusing on critical, reflective thinking and civic responsibility. (*Adapted from the American Association of Community Colleges definition)

Service Learning Course Definitions
A course that is determined to have a substantial community service component that directly connects to learning objectives and includes structured reflection is considered a SL course. Service Learning courses are defined through three designations.

  • A “Service Learning Class” is the designation received when every student in a particular course section is required to participate in the SL experience.
  • A “Service Learning Component Class” is the designation received when SL is presented as an option within a course section for the student
  • A “Service Learning Course” is the designation received when every instructor teaching different sections of a course uses SL as a teaching and learning strategy.

Four Key Components of ALL LCCC Service Learning Projects

  1. Must meet a community need and be connected to an organization (Nonprofit, Public School, or Governmental entities only. For-Profit Businesses do NOT qualify.)
  2. Must be designed to directly assess Course-specific and/or General Education Outcomes. The ideal academic Service Learning project will assess multiple Outcomes.
  3. Must possess a guided reflection component providing students with opportunities to fully appreciate the community benefits provided, value of civic engagement, and the personal rewards of their service. 
  4. Standard project information must be reported by either student or faculty involved. Online student reporting is preferred at: www.lorainccc.edu/servicelearningreport

Service Learning is a Form of Experiential Education
Experiential Education is a “philosophy that informs many methodologies in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop people's capacity to contribute to their communities.” (Association for Experiential Education)

There are many forms of Experiential Education including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Service Learning
  • Internships
  • Co-ops
  • Clinicals
  • Practicums
  • Student Teaching
  • Science Labs
  • Community Service

Service Learning can be distinguished from other forms of Experiential Education because the experience is always connected to specific course or general education outcomes, provides opportunities for reflection, and is designed to address established community needs.

Examples of the differences:
Service Learning is not volunteerism or community service because these forms of engagement may not always be connected to a specific course or general education outcomes.  A volunteer or community service experience can be assessed without clear focus on learning outcomes.

Service Learning is not an internship or co-op because these forms of engagement may not address and established community need.  Many businesses provide excellent hands-on learning opportunities as well as services to the community, but only nonprofit, governmental, and public entities qualify as SL Community Partners.


Service Learning Project Examples

The examples below identify the complementary nature of both Service and Learning and illustrate the importance of reflection as a part of every SL experience. Please note that assessment of SL projects should be concentrated on learning outcomes. 


Service: Make small activity boxes for children being cared for at a local hospital. Service Learning: Study emotional, physical, and intellectual effects of small motor “play” on children ages 1 – 12 years. Discuss the impact of a lack of play during dormant time spent within a hospital. Ask your students how they might feel if they were that child. Then, make small activity boxes to be donated to children being cared for at a local hospital. Arrange a time for your students to deliver the boxes, or share pictures with your students of the delivery, if possible. Reflect together on the impact of this service and how serving made your students feel.
Learning: Study the emotional, physical, and intellectual effects of “play” on a child. Discuss further variances and implications if that child is under severe emotional and possibly physical distress.



Service: Collect food items to be donated to a local homeless shelter. Service Learning: Research the deficits of food donation and hunger statistics in Pittsburgh currently. Then, lead a local food drive to fill the needs you discovered and deliver the needed items to the appropriate shelters and food banks. Reflect on your experience and discuss how citizens might take action to prevent this deficit from growing or reoccurring in the future. Complete an action plan report to present to the local government and food bank, suggesting realistic actions others may take to reduce future deficits and promote self-sufficiency in the effected community.
Learning: Research the existing deficit in food donation and the hunger statistics in Pittsburgh.



Service: Help a local nature reserve lay mulch to prepare for the winter. Service Learning: Study the effect of erosion on the environment and practices implemented to prevent negative effects. Research a local environment in danger of erosion and how you might prevent its negative effects. Then, partner with a local non-profit organization, or government, to implement the practice to help prevent erosion. Visit the location later in the year to analyze and reflect on your impact and results. 
Learning: Study the effect of erosion on the environment and the effect of preventative practices implemented to prevent the negative effects of erosion.

(Section from Pittsburgh Cares, “Community Partner: Service-Learning Toolkit)

Project Examples at LCCC
The list below does not include details about how these projects address specific learning outcomes. We suggest connecting with Service Learning Faculty for additional details. 

  • English students read and discuss books with local Girl Scout Troops.
  • Ecology students plant a Butterfly Garden for the children of Blessing House.
  • Allied Health and Nursing students organize a community health fair on campus.
  • ONLINE example: Food System students partner with Second Harvest Food Bank to create a survey assessing the effectiveness of several of the agency’s programs.
  • Marketing students create and implement a food drive collecting canned foods to donate to Second Harvest Food Bank.
  • Physical Therapy students present a booth at the Family Fest and provide free Balance tests and literature on Osteoporosis.
  • Sociology students mentor children at Big for a Day event with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
  • Volunteer Management students develop a Volunteer Handbook for a local nonprofit organization.
  • Social Welfare & Poverty students coordinate a Poverty Simulation to raise awareness of the plight of the poor.
  • Web Development students create a website for a new nonprofit foundation “Friends from the Start”.
  • Physical Health Education students put on a Zumbathon to help Haiti Earthquake victims.
  • Personal Finance students facilitate a Financial Literacy program for a Girl Scout troop.
  • Dental Hygiene students volunteer in the on-campus Dentist office.
  • Sustainable Agriculture student restores a manure spreader for the George Jones Farm.

Thinking Outside the Box
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when connecting your course to a community need. Feel free to identify your own Community Partner(s), take advantage of online service opportunities such as Free Rice www.freerice.com/category, look for projects located on campus, and align projects with the social issues you are most passionate about.

It is not uncommon for faculty to practice elements of Service Learning in their courses without realizing it. Putting the final touches on your Service Learning project may be as simple as adding a guided reflection component or reporting project data to the Service Learning staff. See Section 2 for a description of the comprehensive benefits Service Learning provides to students, faculty, and the greater community.

Common Faculty Concerns

1. Academic rigor: Is this another feel-good excuse to water down academic standards?

This is an important and legitimate question of all who are concerned with quality higher education, and it is the focus of much of the past and current research on Service Learning. Unless real academic learning results, SL has no place in our institution. Academic credit should not be given for service, but instead for learning. If applied properly, this pedagogy is actually more rigorous than traditional teaching strategies. Students are not only required to master the standard text and lecture material, but they must also integrate their service experience into that real-world context and understand the impact(s) of their actions. This is a high-level skill requiring effective assessment techniques designed to accomplish cognitive, psychomotor, and affective outcomes. It is important to emphasize that incorporating SL does not change what we teach, but how we teach it. With this change comes a new set of challenges for both the student and instructor.

2. Competence in application of the strategy: Will I be able to apply the strategy successfully?

Trying anything new means taking a risk, and it challenges our competencies. Most practitioners report a steep learning curve at first, but develop confidence fairly rapidly once the strategy is allowed to work. Letting students take a leadership role in the classroom is sometimes hard for many of us to do, but once we move from being the "sage on the stage to the guide on the side" we find that students can and will play an active role in their learning if given the right structure. The path to becoming effective in using SL strategy is not always clearly marked. We often find ourselves "making the road by walking." Fortunately, you are not alone on the road. Visit with Faculty who teach with Service Learning for a more active exploration of these challenges.

3. Students' ability to contribute meaningful service: How can my students who are taking remedial courses in reading, writing, or math help others?

Some Faculty are concerned that their students lack adequate preparation or skill to help others in a meaningful way, when in fact, previously underachieving students can make impressive contributions in a variety of roles. Obviously we must use good judgment in choosing appropriate placements and establishing appropriate levels of responsibility. The agencies must also orient and train our students to perform their specific services. But when it comes to meeting the unsuspected challenges that we worry about, we find that students will generally rise to the occasion. When faced with the challenge of teaching a younger student to read or reading to the blind, students will exert effort to be able to succeed at the task because it means something to them and to someone else. This is the very beauty of the strategy - it motivates students to learn and to gain higher levels of competence. They see that more knowledge is tied to higher competence and effectiveness in the real world.
Another common concern of developmental education faculty is the limited time available to engage students in out of class projects. One way to address this concern could be to substitute homework practice with practice on the Free Rice website www.freerice.com/category. Even a project as easy as this one can be defined as Service Learning if it is accompanied by an opportunity for guided reflection and an effort to collect basic project information.  The section below contains additional suggestions on dealing with time constraints.

4. Time Constraints

Faculty: How can I fit SL into an already cramped curriculum?
Service Learning is not an add-on to your current course requirements. It does not change or add to what we teach: it only changes how we teach it. Some of the traditional classroom content is replaced with more dynamic information processing. Some "seat time" is replaced with action and meaningful involvement.  Service Learning can take as little or as much class time as you would like. Students can reflect on the experience outside of class through journals, logs or formal papers.  However, as cited in the University of Cincinnati’s Faculty Handbook (http://www.ucclermont.edu/academics/serv_learn/service_learning.html) research indicates that devoting time in-class to reflection will increase student learning and satisfaction with the course. If the students’ experiences become text for the class, they will integrate what they are learning as they discuss, make connections to course materials, and listen to the experiences of others.  Like developing any new curriculum, adding a Service Learning component will take time to adopt, however you can minimize the amount of time you spend on this by taking advantage of assistance available from the Service Learning Faculty Liaison. The Service Learning staff can provide assistance in developing community partnerships, conducting in-class orientation sessions, regulating paperwork for risk management and completion, developing evaluation forms and tools for students, follow-up and trouble-shooting with students and Community Partners, and helping with other aspects as needed.

Students: Most of our students work in addition to taking classes. How can students fit Service Learning into their already busy schedules?
Service Learning Faculty report that most students are willing and able to volunteer in the community. Some Faculty report a dramatic shift in student attitude and perception from the beginning to the end of the semester.  What may seem burdensome at first becomes a source of great reward for many students. Because of the variety of service placements, there are many opportunities for flexibility. As Faculty, we should also allow for some flexibility in our requirements, recognizing the demands placed on our students.

5. Liability: What if something happens to my students or their actions result in damages to someone else?

There is an inherent risk in any out-of-the-classroom activity. All Service Learning students should be fully informed about their placement and knowingly consent to undertaking risks associated with that placement. Agencies or organizations with well-developed volunteer programs are generally prepared to take responsibility for the safety of students placed there. However, care and judgment must always be exercised to assure that we do not place students in situations fraught with danger or unreasonable risk. Faculty must also use any information or knowledge they have to disqualify a student from engaging in certain activities in order to protect either the student or the public. LCCC carries General Liability Insurance which covers course-related student activities at off-campus locations; however it is recommended that Faculty add another layer of protection by having their Service Learning students sign a Hold Harmless Agreement before beginning their service. A copy of the Hold Harmless Agreement form can be found online in the Forms Library. It is also recommended that Faculty direct students to the online Student Orientation Video and Student Guide, which includes a section on “Safe Service Tips”.

(Section adapted from UC Clermont “Faculty Handbook” & South Seattle Community College’s “Faculty Manual”)

For Faculty interested in reading more of the Service Learning literature, see the Advanced Topics section of the SL website.

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Section 2: Benefits of Service Learning

Service Learning is a Win-Win-Win Partnership
A Culture of Collaboration
This section presents the rewards of Service Learning for Students, Faculty, and Community Partners as though they are separate and disconnected, but one of the most compelling reasons to try SL in your course is the win-win-win felt by all those involved. The benefits are not isolated; they are contagious and often continue beyond the timeframe of a single course. When a SL experience is thoughtfully integrated into a course, it can be a point of profound transformation in the personal growth of a student. Among the many benefits described below, students gain confidence in their own power to make a positive difference in the lives of others and the world around them. Faculty can enjoy the rewards of creativity, innovation, and seeing more students inspired to succeed. And the cycle is complete when the community services provided by our students (services that sometimes save lives) become the source of satisfaction and inspiration felt by both students and Faculty for years to come. 

“I strongly believe that living and working within a culture of collaboration and mutual benefit will help sustain life, liberty, equality, diversity, happiness, and peace on earth.” - Ruby Beil, Faculty Liaison, Fall 2010-Spring 2013    

Student Benefits
Academic, Personal and Professional

Research indicates Service Learning can increase student engagement, persistence, retention, and completion.

Two key 2010 publications by the AACU (“Five High-Impact Educational Practices”) and AACC (“Improving Student Learning Outcomes with Service Learning”), among other research (listed below), demonstrate the connection between Service Learning & student success. With increased attention to Service Learning emerging within Completion By Design and Achieving The Dream initiatives, everyone on campus is brainstorming how to increase student success. If you’re considering strategies for course innovation, now is a good time to learn more about SL. 

Below is a summary of AACU and AACC findings outlining 3 main categories of student benefits and the corresponding references:

Brownell, J. E., Swaner, L. E., & Kuh, G. D. (2010). Five High-Impact Practices: Research on Learning Outcomes, Completion, and Quality. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Eyler, J. S., Giles, D. E., Jr, Stenson, C. M., & Gray, C. J. (2001). At A Glance: What We Know about The Effects of Service-Learning on College Students, Faculty, Institutions and Communities, 1993-2000 (3rd ed.). Corporation for National & Community Service.

Kuh, G. D. (2008). High-Impact Educational Practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Prentice, M., & Robinson, G. (2010). Improving Student Learning Outcomes with Service Learning. Washington, DC: American Association of Community Colleges.

Prentice & Brownell publications are available in the Advanced Topics section online. Eyler and Kuh are available at the Service Learning office.

Additional Benefits at LCCC
Career & Professional Development
Service Learning students who engage in community projects also receive a number of career and professional development benefits. They begin to develop a professional network within the community; networking is one of the most effective methods used in a job search. Service Learning allows students to explore personal interests, career paths, and academic majors to help decide if their current path is the correct fit. Lastly, as with other methods of Experiential Education, Service Learning can assist students in the development of professional skills and provide meaningful experience they can show on their resume. Employers are always seeking students who have hands-on experience within their fields.
One student’s success story:
“I learned many things from this project that helped me as a marketing student, videographer and as career experience and networking. Without this project I would not have a professional documentary video in my portfolio for such a large well known organization. Also, I have made good contacts at Second Harvest. (A staff member) even offered to help get me an internship next summer. The video I created used a marketing component of promotion and awareness. This video not only promoted the Farmers Market program but informed viewers about what Second Harvest does. My work was so successful that Second Harvest asked me to do another project for their partnership with Spitzer Cares.” – Victor Edwards, Fall 2011 Marketing Service Learner

Certificates, Medallions, and Celebrations
One of the key components of Service Learning is to “reflect and celebrate” and with this in mind, LCCC is proud to provide Certificates of Completion and Graduation Medallions for LCCC Service Learning (SL) students upon successful completion of a SL project. There is also an Annual Service Learning Celebration held at the end of the spring semester for all of that academic year’s SL students to attend and celebrate their projects. The program policies and procedures for certificates and medallions are as follows.

Certificate & Medallion Policy
Important Note: In order for a student to be considered an official SL student in the college’s PeopleSoft system and receive the below awards, the correct actions MUST be completed, including the submission of names and numbers of SL students (SL course roster) by SL Faculty and SL student submissions of project data to the Online Project Report Form.)

Certificates of Completion
Every SL student will receive a Certificate of Completion upon successful completion of a Service Learning Project each semester.

Method of Distribution
• Fall & Summer Semesters - Faculty will receive the certificates of completion for their students before the final week of classes via interoffice mail.
• Spring Semesters - Faculty will have a chance to distribute their certificates at the End of the Year Celebration. If Faculty/student is unable to attend and receive their certificate at the celebration, the certificates will be sent after the celebration via interoffice mail.

Graduation Medallions
Every SL student is eligible to receive a Service Learning Graduation Medallion to be worn at graduation. LC students must apply for graduation to receive their medallion; unless they are a UP/Transfer student.

Method of Distribution
• Those who ARE walking at graduation at LCCC – Will receive their medallion via their cap and gown packet available at the bookstore. 
• Those who applied for graduation and are NOT walking - Can pick up their medallion from the LCCC Career Services Office located in the Mike Bass Library, first floor.
• Graduating University Partnership/Transfer students – Must pick up their medallion from the LCCC Career Services Office located in the Mike Bass Library, first floor.
Any questions or concerns with this policy or procedures please see Amanda Rigutto– 366-7737, arigutto@lorainccc.edu.

Faculty Benefits
Overall Benefits
There are a variety of reasons why one might want to teach with Service Learning. Consider what motivates you. Why do you teach? Why do you teach here at LCCC? What might inspire you to try Service Learning in your course?

  • Improve student engagement, satisfaction and retention.
  • Better prepare students for work and transfer of other educational institutions.
  • Improve college-community relations, and increase opportunities for professional networking.
  • Develop a stronger motivational base of instruction and learning.
  • Enhance applied learning/experiential education opportunities.
  • Develop a broader conception of your educational role.
  • Increase public service delivery.
  • Reorient the educational process to meet real human needs
  • Explore your own personal passions and creativity.
  • Enjoy the personal rewards of your students’ collective community impact. Presentations, portfolios, and posters, are effective and enjoyable methods of sharing student success stories.
  • Participate in additional college benefits: a letter from the College President to your Dean after each semester of service, your own Faculty Profile, and Level II Committee service (see below).  SLAC Committee service and Faculty Profiles are optional.

Letters of Recognition from the College President
At the end of each academic year, Dr. Church sends letters of recognition to the Deans of each Division commending each Faculty member who has engaged in Service Learning throughout the past year. These letters include how many students were engaged, who they partnered with, description of their projects and impact, and student quotes. Letters are sent annually around the time of the Faculty evaluation process.

Faculty Profiles
The online Faculty Profiles were created to assist all groups involved in Service Learning. These online profiles showcase each Faculty member who is currently teaching with Service Learning, what courses they utilize, examples of projects, and contact information. Faculty Profiles provide Community Partners with examples of projects and contact information for Faculty. Students interested in taking more Service Learning courses now have the ability to identify which professors and courses they could potentially schedule. Lastly, Faculty can identify who teaches with SL in their own Division, view project examples, and seek guidance from their colleagues.

Service Learning Advisory Committee - Level II Committee
Faculty who teach with Service Learning are not obligated to join the Service Learning Advisory Committee (SLAC), but all SL Faculty are invited to join. All full-time Faculty are required to serve on committees, which exist at different levels within the college structure. Faculty who join SLAC will be able to document this membership on their annual Individualized Work Plan (IWP) as a Level II Committee. Please check the most current version of the Faculty Policies and Procedures (P&P) for more information on committee responsibility.

Community Benefits
Overall Benefits
Community impact is often the first highlight of a Service Learning project story…. students volunteering to paint a room at a homeless shelter or mentoring a child through Big Brothers Big Sisters. The community benefits listed below are far reaching.

  • Improve college-community relations.
  • Increase access to human, financial, and material resources.
  • Augment service delivery.
  • Gain more contributions to meet human needs.
  • Increase their future civic support and commitment.
  • Provides short-term volunteers to meet community needs.
  • Provides potential long-term volunteers and recruits for agency employment.
  • Increases awareness of agency services and social issues within the community.
  • Community agencies gain the opportunity to participate in educational partnerships.

Additional Benefits at LCCC
The LCCC SL office seeks to create ongoing and sustainable relationships and projects with local community organizations. The program has several Established Community Partners and efforts are made every fall and spring semester to gather their needs in the form of a Wishlist and address them through SL courses. Wishlists are posted online in the Community Partner Directory. LCCC also invites each Established Community Partners to attend the Annual Service Learning Celebration to celebrate alongside their partnering students.

College Benefits
Lorain County Community College as a whole benefits through the successful education of Service Learning students. Service Learning makes an important contribution to the COMMUNITY cornerstone and campus mission. As a form of Experiential Education, Service Learning provides LCCC students the opportunity to gain valuable experience in a “real world” setting. The collection of student project data is essential to assist the college in applying for future grants and funding (e.g. Awarding of the Presidents Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll). For more information on Service Learning Project Reporting, please see Section 3 “Reporting Procedures”. 

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Section 3: Teaching with Service Learning

Ten principles of good service learning pedagogy
The following principles can serve as a useful checklist for Faculty who are considering Service Learning:

Principle 1: Academic credit is for learning, not for service – Students must be given credit not for the community service they perform but for the quality of learning that takes place. Some points may be awarded for direct service hours, but the quality of learning should be based on other standard measures of assessment, such as papers, presentations, portfolios, exams, etc. 

Principle 2: Do not compromise academic rigor – Academic standards must be sustained when adding a Service Learning component. Communicate academic standards and learning outcomes clearly to students and Community Partners.

Principle 3: Set learning goals for students – Identifying priorities and taking maximum advantage of learning opportunities both require deliberate planning. Take the time to plan ahead and set goals as you collaborate with your Community Partner(s).

Principle 4: Establish criteria for the selection of community service placements – Faculty who are deliberate about establishing criteria for selecting community service placements will find that their students extract better learning from the service experiences. 

Principle 5: Provide educationally sound mechanisms to help students harvest their learning from the community experience – Careful development of sound mechanisms may include embedding multiple opportunities for guided reflection, clearly communicating how learning outcomes align with established community needs, inviting Community Partners into the classroom, and guiding students to keep track of community impact data (also a requirement for Service Learning designation in PeopleSoft).

Principle 6: Provide supports for students in learning how to harvest their learning from the community experience – Faculty are expected to help students acquire the needed skills by providing examples of how to draw out the learning from their experiences in the community. Service Learning is a type of Experiential Education. Students must be adequately prepared to practice course-related skills in a real-world setting.

Principle 7: Minimize the distinction between the student’s community learning role and the classroom learning role – Create consistency between the learning roles of the students in the classroom and in the community. Establish clear and consistent expectations with Community Partners.

Principle 8: Re-think the teaching role of faculty – Faculty are expected to shift away from a teaching role of presenting information, and towards the development of life-long, civically engaged learners through real-world community connections.

Principle 9: Be prepared for uncertainty and variation in student learning outcomes – Variability in Service Learning placements may lead to unpredictable learning outcomes. Establish a culture of consistent communication with students and Community Partners, and be prepared for flexibility and adaptation.

Principle 10: Maximize the community responsibility orientation of the module – Engage the Community Partners in the role of “Community Faculty” who are not just the contacts for the organization, but also serve as a contributors to the student learning.

(*Adapted for LCCC from: Howard, J., ed. (1993) Praxis I: A faculty casebook on community Service-Learning. Ann Arbor, MI: Office of Community Service-Learning Press, University of Michigan.)

Constructing a Service Learning Experience

1. Connecting to Learning Outcomes
One way to stay in-line with the first two Principles of Good Service Learning Pedagogy is to go back to the Course Descriptions with Student Outcomes (CDSO) form for the course you are considering adapting. CDSO forms provide general guidelines for delivery and assessment of every LCCC course. Some courses may include a statement about Service Learning in the course description section, while others may not mention SL at all. Regardless, every course has the potential to incorporate a SL experience if there is clear alignment between course-specific and/or general education outcomes and established community need. If SL is not already aligned with one or more of the listed course outcomes on the CDSO form, then Faculty can create these connections. Faculty may find it fairly easy to swap a SL project with a similar one lacking the real-world community connection. For example, instead of creating a website for a hypothetical organization, use SL to create a website for a real organization in need. If you find it difficult to make the connection to course-specific outcomes, try general education outcomes. For example, Service Learning provides opportunities for students to practice critical thinking and explore the ethics of civic engagement regardless of specific course or subject content.

2. Connecting to the Community Need
Just as it is critical for SL projects to connect with the learning outcomes, it is equally important for the project to meet an established community need. This is where the relationship between Faculty/students and the Community Partner is most important. Community organizations know and understand the people they serve and their needs. The most successful and sustainable SL projects are created when the Faculty and Community Partners collaborate in the development of the project and connection to learning outcomes. Remember, SL should always be mutually beneficial for students and Community Partners. The Community Partner Online Directory and Wishlists are available to assist you in identifying community needs. For more information on these items, see Section 4. Service Learning maximizes its community impact when Faculty establish ongoing and sustainable relationships with their Community Partners.

World of Nonprofits
When preparing to work with nonprofit organizations, it is best for both Faculty and students to understand the nonprofit environment. Nonprofit staff members tend to be overworked and underpaid and, it may take time to establish first contact. Making contact as soon as possible and following up as needed will assist in the formation of the partnership. It is critical to orient students to the nonprofit environmental as well.  It is recommended to use the online Service Learning Student Orientation Video found on the Service Learning website, Student webpage, to provide guidance for professional conduct in the community.
Engaging Community Partners in a Teaching Role
Community Partners can serve as “Community Faculty” in the student’s learning process. You may want to invite them to participate throughout the Service Learning experience by including them in reflection discussions, group presentations, orientations, or the evaluation/assessment process. As community and course needs sometimes change, it is important that Faculty and Community Partners maintain an open dialogue centered on creating successful experiences for students. Utilizing formal agreement forms can help clarify expectations. (Sample agreements can be found online in the Advanced Topics Section)

Online Alternatives
Although our local Community Partners have many established needs, another option that may be well-suited for online delivery, developmental education courses, or courses with global emphasis are National and International organizations that offer web-based projects or skills practice for students, such as www.freerice.com/category.  The Free Rice website is designed to provide practice in a variety of academic subjects (math, chemistry, English, anatomy, geography, etc.) while also addressing the issue of global hunger.

3. Decision Making: Logistics and Assessment
Faculty have many options to create the kind of SL experience that works best for their students. As a general rule, more in-depth projects result in greater quality of learning on multiple levels.

  • A Service Learning project may be required, optional, or even extra credit. If the project is required, adjustments should be made to the current course workload. SL should be integrated, not an “add-on”. For example, replace the research paper project with the SL project consisting of service and reflection papers. If the SL project is optional, make it an appealing alternative.  For example: Students may select a 15-page term paper or a 15-hour service project with a reflection journal.
  • A project may be long-term or short-term. It is recommended that a full-term 3-credit course have about 15 total hours devoted to community service for a quality SL experience.
  • Location: Is the experience limited to opportunities on campus or are students required to travel off-campus to other locations?  Perhaps the project can be completed online?
  • How will the SL project be graded?  How will you assess student learning? Remember that credit should be given for learning, not for service. Weekly journals, reflection papers, and project presentations graded by rubric are common means of assessing SL projects. It is recommended that Faculty assign a small point value to the student project reporting piece because it is important to the college and to identifying individuals as Service Learners. Sample rubrics for assessment can be found online in the Advanced Topics section.
  • Have you scheduled time to introduce Service Learning in the classroom? It can be particularly effective to invite your Community Partner(s) into the classroom to meet the students. Make time during class to define SL and civic engagement and explain why it is so important to your course.
  • Have you scheduled guided reflection time for students?  Students tend to get the most out of their SL experience when given structured time for reflection. This includes reflecting on their community impact, the skills and concepts they’ve learned, and their own personal growth.
  • Establish and communicate clear deadlines for each step in your SL experience.  Rather than leave the entire assessment for the end of the semester, it is recommended to establish check points and submission deadlines for your students throughout the semester. This is particularly useful when managing long-term, in-depth projects.
  • Finally, with careful planning and decision making complete, incorporate this new structure into your course syllabus. Use the checklist below as a guideline for syllabus revision.

Syllabus & Project Description Checklist
Every Service Learning syllabus should include:

  • Definition: “Service Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates community service with academic instruction while focusing on critical thinking, reflection and civic responsibility.”
  • Assessment for the Service Learning project is clearly stated. (Reminder: Grades should be awarded for learning not service.)
  • Due dates for required project reporting and other project paperwork are clearly stated.
    Please include in your syllabus or separate SL project description, the following:
  • Connection to specific and general education outcomes is identified
  • Established community need is identified
    • Connections to specific community partners are given when appropriate
  • Project includes graded and guided reflection component on:
    • Student learning
    • Community Impact
    • Importance of Civic Engagement
  • All other graded components of the project are clearly defined. For example: Journals, presentations, portfolio, etc.
  • Emphasize information needed for end of project reporting and direct students to the online website: www.lorainccc.edu/servicelearning

*Although we recommend the constant use of the above standard language, alternative language may be used in cases where the accrediting body controls the syllabus content. For example: “Community-Based Learning”.

LCCC Faculty Sample Syllabi
Samples found online in the Advanced Topics section of the Service Learning website.

Campus Compact Sample Syllabi
View an online listing of real Service Learning Syllabi of different subjects/courses at the Campus Compact website: www.compact.org/category/syllabi 

The following sections “Faculty Semester Timeline” and “Reporting Procedures” provide important guidelines to assure your students are officially designated as Service Learners and that your course will be recognized as having a SL component.

Faculty Semester Timeline
Below is a timeline to guide faculty member through a typical semester of SL:

Before the Semester

  1. Whenever possible, designate your course as a Service Learning course in the notes section and submit your request to the divisional course builder (look for division announcements regarding semester scheduling).
  2. Service Learning Project Development in collaboration with Community Partner(s).
    1. Clearly define roles and expectations for faculty, students, and community partners. Connect project to Learning Outcomes & Community Need.
  3. Course design/syllabus development
    1. Decide whether your SL project will be required or optional component of the course.
    2. Develop the curriculum components of the project. Contact the Faculty Liaison for assistance. 
    3. Add the SL components (including student reporting info & standard definition of SL) to the course syllabus.

Beginning of the Semester:

  1. Week 1 - Submit your course syllabus to the Service Learning office.
  2. Introduce and explain SL project(s) to students (including project reporting requirements). Some professors even invite organization representatives to speak to students in class.

End of the Semester:

  1. 1 Month Before Finals – The SL office will request your SL course roster, including student numbers, of only the students in your course who are actively engaged in Service Learning.
  2. Faculty receive Service Learning Certificates of Completion to handout.
  3. Beginning of last week of classes – Faculty will receive updated lists of students who have already completed their online project reports. This will help Faculty know which of their students have/haven’t submitted.
  4. Thursday of Finals Week at Midnight – All student project reports are due in order for SL office to send final list of student submissions.
  5. Friday of Finals – Faculty members will receive the final student reports for their records stating the official list of students who completed their reporting.

*All submissions to the Service Learning office will go directly to Amanda Rigutta, Service Learning Support Staff, arigutto@lorainccc.edu  – 440-366-7737.

Reporting Procedures
Student Project Reporting is considered to be one of the 4 required components of ALL Service Learning (SL) projects at Lorain County Community College.
Why is reporting required?

  • To track impact upon the students themselves as well as the impact the project had upon the community.
  • To track student projects; who participated (student, faculty, community organizations/contacts), and what was accomplished from the project.
  • To track participation in the Service Learning Program:
    • These submissions act as the official statement that a student has participated in a SL project. We use this knowledge to flag students in the PeopleSoft student tracking system, create Certificates, and send Medallions to the bookstore.
      • The flagging of students in PeopleSoft provides the college the ability to compare the completion, GPA, success of SL students verse students who never participated in an experience like this.

Roles and Responsibilities


  1. Complete the submission of the Student Project Reports online after their projects have been completed. (Direct Link: www.lorainccc.edu/servicelearningreport)

Faculty Members:

  1. Submit a copy of the course syllabus – This acts as notification to the SL office that you will be teaching with SL this semester.
  2. When explaining the SL projects to students, notify them of the reporting requirement and procedure. (It is suggested to assign a point value to the reporting process as a part of the SL project.)
  3. Submit SL course roster of students who are completing SL projects (including student numbers) when requested by the SL office. This enables the creation of certificates and graduation medallions.

Service Learning office:

  1. Collects syllabi from SL Faculty.
  2. Collects SL course rosters from SL Faculty.
  3. Creates and distributes Certificates & Medallions.
  4. Collects student Project Reports from online system.
  5. Sends student project report summaries to faculty of submitted forms. (Two automatic updates are sent according to the timeline above. Updates are also available upon request at any time.)
  6. Submits student names & numbers to be flagged in the PeopleSoft system.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Failure to complete the above steps will result in the loss of student data and students will not receive SL designation or certificates/medallions.

Reflecting on the service experience and how it relates to course concepts and civic engagement is an essential component of SL. Without guided reflection, students may not develop critical thinking skills or explore the in-depth complexities of community life. In addition, negative stereotypes may be reinforced if student reflection is not guided or structured.

Reflection activities should be designed to be continuous, connected, challenging, and contextualized.  Reflect via legitimate academic means such as research papers, essays, class discussion and presentations. You may also consider using an online forum where students can respond to each other through postings.
Students may find sharing their personal experiences and thoughts unfamiliar in an academic setting. Eliminate the confusion & increase student buy-in:

  • Fully explain the importance of specific reflection activities
  • Provide examples of acceptable work
  • Provide a grading rubric for reflection activities

Include learning objectives for reflection activities such as:

  • “Students will demonstrate an understanding of the intricate assets and needs present within a community”
  • “Students will apply critical thinking abilities to complex problems”
  • “Through written and oral assignments, students will present diverse viewpoints and critiques”

Include a discussion of civic responsibility and why life-long community engagement is important. This discussion can revolve around your specific discipline or be a general discussion about participation in a healthy democracy.

Determine the worth and weight of reflection assignments. Tell students what percentage of their final grade will be represented by reflection assignments and the Service Learning project.

Sample Forms of Reflection


  • One-on-one conferences with the teacher/leader
  • Class/group discussions
  • Small group discussion
  • Oral reports to group
  • Discussions with community members or experts on an issue
  • Public speaking on project
  • Teach material to younger student


  • Essay, expert paper, research paper, final paper
  • Project report
  • Learning log – kept daily, weekly, or after each service experience
  • Guide for future volunteers/participants
  • Self-evaluation or evaluation of program
  • Newspaper, magazine, and other published articles


  • Analysis and problem solving
  • Information gathering needed to serve or understand project
  • Planning new future projects
  • Allocating program budget
  • Recruiting peers to serve
  • Recognition and celebration programs
  • Simulation or role-playing games
  • Training other students and/or program leaders

Multimedia/ Performing Arts:

  • Photo, slide show
  • Scrapbook
  • Interactive computers
  • Paintings, drawings, or collages
  • Dance, music or theater presentations
  • CD Rom Products
  • Website Development

Cairn, R. & Coble, T.L. (1993). Learning by giving: K-8 Service-Learning. Curriculum guide. Minneapolis, MN: National Youth Leadership Council.

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Section 4: Community Partner Collaborations

The Service Learning Partnership
A successful Service Learning partnership meets the needs of both partners: the collegiate partner (students and Faculty) and the Community Partner. As you proceed into this relationship, work to design an experience that meets your partner’s needs and your own. Some Faculty may already have a long-standing relationship with a Community Partner, and may simply need to add a reflection component or project data collection requirement to officially begin teaching with Service Learning. Others may need to research their options and put some time into building a collaborative relationship first. This section provides resources on how to make connections and guidelines for successful collaboration.

The Collegiate Partner Should Consider:

  • How will this Service Learning experience strengthen our course and help us to reach our learning objectives?
  • Are there special circumstances in the nature of the project that require institutional support or approval?
  • Does the project require support from the Service Learning staff?
  • When and how often will the faculty meet with the community partner to plan or evaluate this experience if it is ongoing?
  • What type of transportation will be necessary? Can the community partner help to arrange this?
  • Will we need to provide any necessary funding or resources to implement any components of this experience or to ensure this experience meets the needs of our course? Will the community partner provide any of this?
  • How will we assess this experience within the structure of our coursework?

The Community Partner Should Consider:

  • Does this Service Learning project directly support our mission?
  • Do we have a well-defined project for the students to complete at this time that is in line with their learning objectives, skill-set(s), and interest(s)?
  • Do we have a staff person(s) available to serve as the contact person for our collegiate partner to facilitate this project throughout its duration, including preparation, service, and reflection?
  • To what extent will our staff and organization be involved in the development and implementation of this project (i.e. how many staff or staff hours will we need to dedicate to this project)? Can we accommodate this class size or number of volunteers over the determined period of time?
  • Will this project require additional resources? Do we have access to these resources or can our collegiate partner or an outside source provide them?
  • Is this project or the impact of this project sustainable after this class/project is over? If not, will that be detrimental to our clients or mission?

Remember to consider both sides to develop
a successful Service Learning partnership.

(Section adapted from: 2008 Pittsburgh Cares & SPRING service-learning network; “Community Partner: Service-Learning Toolkit”)

Connecting To Community Need

Contact the Service Learning Office
The Service Learning office is here to help Faculty connect the learning outcomes of their courses with the needs of the community. Staff members work closely with a pool of Established Community Partners and can recommend organizations whose needs may fit with the objectives of your course. It is encouraged to schedule a meeting or phone conversation with our staff to begin exploring your options. Contact information for SL staff is provided in Section 5.

Established Community Partners
The Service Learning office has established official partnerships with a handful of community organizations. The purpose is to deepen and sustain these relationships and provide ongoing support through not only one Service Learning course, but across many different disciplines. Established Community Partners are characterized by the following criteria:

  • Service Learning Orientation given by SL staff
  • Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the college including (but not limited to) the agreement of:
    • Possessing General Liability Insurance
    • Agreement of orientation/training as needed to Service Learning students
    • Maintaining safe environment
  • Willingness to communicate organization needs semi-annually through the collection of Wishlists
  • Increased active seeking by SL staff to address CP needs
  • Invitation to participate in CP/Faculty networking events
  • Invitation to the Annual Service Learning Celebration
  • Invitation to join the Service Learning Advisor Committee (SLAC)

While the college encourages projects that support these established organizations, Service Learning partners are NOT limited to this list. Faculty and students alike may be able to develop their own Service Learning relationships. See “Forming Your Own Partnership” below for more information.

Community Partner Directory and Wishlists
A list of current Established Community Partners can be found on the Service Learning website at www.lorainccc.edu/servicelearning in the Community Partner Directory. The Directory features individual pages for each organization with an overview of the mission and programs, a link to the organization’s official webpage, lists of ongoing volunteer needs, and contact information. The Directory also houses Community Partner Wishlists, which are updated and posted each fall and spring semester. Wishlists connect specific needs to general project ideas and subject areas and provide estimates of how many students are needed and the time involved, as well as the organization’s contact person. Wishlists are listed next to each corresponding Community Partner in the Community Partner Directory. It is important to note these projects ideas are usually not rigid or finalized and have room for creative adaptation to course needs and student learning outcomes. CPs wish to make these experiences educational for our students and seek to discuss learning outcomes with Faculty. They are often able to adapt to certain aspects of your course as well. Faculty are encouraged to contact these organizations directly and explore potential projects to see if there is a natural fit and basis for collaboration.

Forming Your Own Partnership
While it is encouraged that Faculty address the needs of our Established Community Partners, Service Learning projects are NOT limited to those select organizations. Faculty and students can create their own partnerships with Nonprofit, Government, or Public School organizations. In some cases, it is more convenient for Faculty to identify their own Community Partner. For example, you may be a Board Member of a local nonprofit, and while serving in that role, you discover a need that fits with one of your courses. The advantages are that you may already know a lot about the organization and may have more personal passion to bring to the relationship. Alternatively, a student may already be volunteering at an organization in a role that compliments the learning outcomes of your course. It is up to Faculty to decide whether or not he or she will allow students to adapt other forms of service to the Service Learning requirement in his or her course. 

When establishing your own community partnership, it is recommended that you refer the organization or agency to the Community Partner Toolkit on the SL website as a useful orientation to Service Learning.  Be sure to orient your new partner to the definition of Service Learning and discuss the criteria for a successful Service Learning experience.
If Faculty anticipate broader connections with other courses and disciplines and would like to create an established partnership with a newly identified community organization, please contact the Service Learning staff to request an orientation for a new Established Community Partner.
To see what is involved in the Memorandum of Understanding between college and community partner, visit the Forms Library on the SL website.

Working With Community Partners

Tip Sheet for Community Partner Collaboration

What your Community Partner needs to know:
What is Service Learning?

  • Utilize the standard LCCC definition of Service Learning given in section 1.
  • Provide examples of other previous projects or projects you are familiar with from other courses which incorporate Service Learning.
  • Help the agency to understand the differences between Service Learning and other kinds of community service or experiential education.
  • Emphasize the intent of a collaborative relationship, where both the collegiate and community partners’ needs are met.
    What is your course?
  • Share your course syllabus and/or the CDSO form with your community partner to help them understand the learning outcomes and structure of your course. 

Questions to consider when meeting:
Readiness of the agency for a Service Learning partnership and starter questions:

  • What experience does the community partner have working with college students?
  • Is someone in the agency willing to be a champion for Service Learning?
  • What is the most important reason for involving students in Service Learning through this organization?
  • What are the major challenges the agency faces in providing services to the community?
  • Does the agency see college students as a valuable resource?
  • How much supervision will the agency be able to provide students?
  • How readily could students apply what they would do in the agency to what they are learning in the classroom?
  • How willing is the agency to provide time for staff to with collaborate faculty?
  • Does the agency’s schedule have flexibility to meet student’s time and travel limitations?

Initial Meeting To-Do List:

  • Discuss community and college mission & goals
  • Explore community and college assets and needs
  • Brainstorm project ideas to address mutual needs and desired outcomes
  • Consider a short-term project to begin building trusting relationship

Project Development: 

  • Over time, determine scope of project based on mutually identified needs
  • Develop shared mission statement & goals for project
  • Establish effective on-going communication & evaluation plan
  • Determine roles and responsibilities
  • Set next steps & time line 

(Section adapted from: 2007 SPRING service-learning network; “Service-Learning Course Planning Toolkit”)

Community Partners in a Teaching Role
Although it may be difficult at first for some Faculty to share their teaching role with Community Partners, it is recommended that Faculty do not underestimate the impact of the teaching/learning relationship between student and CP. Ideally, the SL student will receive a clear and consistent definition of Service Learning from both Faculty and CP. Both Faculty and Community Partners are responsible for helping the student understand how his or her service connects to learning outcomes, and why it is so important to become civically engaged. Individuals from Community Partner organizations who are qualified to teach at the college level may become so engaged that they are actually hired as Adjunct Faculty to facilitate the Service Learning experience from both perspectives.

Risk Management

Hold Harmless Agreement
There is an inherent risk in any out-of-the-classroom activity. All Service Learning students should be fully informed about their placement and knowingly consent to undertaking any risk associated with that placement. Agencies or organizations with well-developed volunteer programs are generally prepared to take responsibility for the safety of students placed there. However, care and judgment must always be exercised to assure that we do not place students in situations fraught with danger or unreasonable risk. Faculty must also use any information or knowledge they have to disqualify a student from engaging in certain activities in order to protect either the student or the public. LCCC carries General Liability Insurance which covers course-related student activities at off-campus locations; however it is recommended that Faculty add another layer of protection by having their Service Learning students sign a Hold Harmless Agreement before beginning their service. A copy of the Hold Harmless Agreement form can be found online in the Forms Library. It is also recommended that Faculty direct students to the online Student Orientation Video, which includes a section on “Safe Service Tips”.

Preparing Students for Service
It is critical to orient students to the definition of Service Learning, provide a project overview, define expectations, and prepare them for service in the community. The Student Guide and Student Orientation Video introduce students to the Service Learning experience.  However, these resources should be paired with the Faculty’s own explanation of course/project specific information including deadlines, forms, and instructions. The Student Guide and Orientation are generalized to apply across a wide variety of course subjects and disciplines. View both the Student Guide and Student Orientation Video on the SL website, Student webpage.

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Section 5: Support Services

Your Service Learning Support Team

The Lorain County Community College’s Service Learning (SL) office is located in the Mike Bass Library and Resource Center (LC) on the first floor in Career Services.

Staff Members - For a current listing of Program staff.

Service Learning Faculty Liaison

The Service Learning Faculty Liaison is compensated up to 3 ILUs of reassigned time to dedicate to the support and growth of SL. His or her primary responsibility is to train, recruit and support LCCC/UP Faculty who teach with SL.

Major Support Services provided through the Faculty Liaison:

  • New Faculty Orientation
  • Ongoing support & troubleshooting for SL Faculty
  • Communicating announcements, events, updates, and deadlines

Please don’t hesitate to contact the Faculty Liaison with any questions you might have. He or she is here to assist you.

Community Partner Connections

The Service Learning Coordinator is here to assist in the connections between community organizations and campus resources.

Major Support Services provided through the SL Coordinator:

  • Gathering/distribution of community needs through Wishlist collection etc.
  • Project development & brainstorming – Both Faculty & Community Partners 
  • Community Partner Orientations

Project Reporting & Submission

Staff Support is here to assist with the collection of SL project data, course syllabi, and student rosters. Faculty can expect end of the semester reports including student project data directly from the SL office.

Service Learning Advisory Committee (SLAC)

The program since its inception has had a committee of dedicated people who believe in the mission of Service Learning and wish to see its growth and continued health. This committee is an officially recognized Level II Committee at LCCC and is always open to new Faculty who wish to join. SLAC generally meets every month for an hour and a half during the academic year. The meetings alternate between a full SLAC committee and subcommittee meetings. The committee has 4 main subcommittees: Student Involvement, Faculty Involvement, Community Partnerships, and Institutionalization.

View the current listing of SLAC members.

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