Benefits of Service Learning

Student Benefits

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

Academic Achievement

  • Higher grades
  • Higher persistence rates
  • Academic gains (including application of course learning)
  • Higher levels of academic engagement
  • Increases in critical thinking and writing skills
  • Greater interaction with faculty
  • Higher levels of satisfaction with their learning experience
  • Deeper understanding of subject matter
  • A greater likelihood of degree completion
  • Greater retention

Civic Engagement

  • Greater levels of civic behavior, social responsibility, understanding of social justice, and sense of self-efficacy
  • Desire personally to effect political change
  • Gaining a new perspective on social issues

Personal Growth

  • Gains in moral reasoning
  • Greater tolerance and reduced stereotyping
  • Greater commitment to service-oriented career
  • Positive effect on their ability to work well with others
  • Predictor of increased leadership skills
  • Greater self-knowledge, spiritual growth, and finding reward in helping others
  • A predictor of students’ feeling connected to the community
  • A means of creating opportunity for close relationships among students and between faculty and students

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:

Certificates, Medallions, and Celebrations
One of the key components of Service Learning is to “reflect and celebrate” and with this in mind, the LCCC Service Learning program 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.

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 President Church to your Dean after each semester of service, your own Faculty Profile, and Level II Committee service (see below).

Letters of Recognition from President Church
At the end of each academic year, Dr. Church sends letters of recognition to the Deans of each division commending each of their faculty members who have 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. The Profiles provide Community Partners with examples of projects and contact information for the faculty member. 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 a variety of 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 Program 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 wish list and address them through SL courses. Wish lists are posted online in the Community Partner Directory. LCCC also invites each SL Community Partner 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 mission of our community college. As a form of Experiential Education, Service Learning provides LCCC students the opportunity to gain actual 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).