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Service-Learning sparks civic competence

Service-learning is thought to be one of the most fitting pedagogical strategies for fulfilling what is arguably a keystone objective for higher education overall: developing the next generation of civically competent citizens who have the knowledge, skills, values and identity thought necessary for meaningful participation in democratic society.

Service-learning pedagogy has been specifically identified by Iona College as a promising curricular strategy that will bolster our collective commitment fulfill Iona’s institutional mission, which in part articulates a “commitment to community engagement, an appreciation for diversity...and to the development of graduates recognized for their ethics, creativity and problem solving abilities...”

Service-learning is a credit-bearing academic experience describing a unique and specialized course design strategy that combines an academic content area, fulfilling a community identified need through a reciprocal relationship and intentional reflection strategies in order to enrich the learning experience, explore civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

While individual learning outcomes from service-learning courses can vary from student to student, there are a variety of regularly agreed-upon ways that service-learning impacts students, including improved academic performance, retention rates, intercultural and leadership skill, knowledge about civic issues and social problems and self-efficacy.