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Service Learning

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What is Service Learning?
Service learning is a method of scholarship that combines formal instruction with a related service in the community. Though service learning offers students immediate opportunities to apply classroom learning to support or enhance the work of local agencies, it differs from volunteerism in that scope of participation is tied directly to enhancing academic instruction. Specifically, service learning integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, encourage lifelong civic engagement, and strengthen communities for the common good.

What is the purpose of Service Learning?
Service learning can be applied in a wide variety of settings. It can involve a group of students, a classroom, or the entire campus community. Students build character and become active participants as they work with others in their school and community. Service learning provides experience and instruction through which classroom learning is enriched and applied through service to others.

Who is eligible for Service Learning?
All VHCC students are eligible to participate in service learning.

What is required of students interested in Service Learning?
Students interested in service learning should contact the office of the Career Development/ Service Learning Coordinator located in ISC 101A. The Career Development/Service Learning Coordinator can also be reached by phone at 276-739-2575. Students involved with service learning are required to complete the Service Learning Application (prior to their service learning project) and the Service Learning Tracking Form (after completing the service learning project).

What are the benefits of Service Learning?
Service learning emphasizes the importance of the classroom curriculum through meaningful learning activities that are designed to be beneficial to all parties involved. These benefits include but are not limited to:

Benefits for Students:

  • Enriches student learning of course material and "brings books to life and life to books".
  • Engage in active learning that demonstrates the relevance and importance of academic work.
  • Increase awareness of current societal issues as they relate to academic areas of interest.
  • Broaden perspectives of diversity issues and enhances critical thinking skills.
  • Improve valuable interpersonal skills that promote achieving success in professional and personal spheres.
  • Develop civic responsibility through active community involvement.

Benefits for the Community:

  • Provide human resources to meet educational, human, safety, and environmental needs of local communities.
  • Promote the energy and enthusiasm of college students to contribute to meeting needs.
  • Foster an ethic of service and civic participation in students who will be tomorrow's leaders.
  • Create potential for additional partnerships and collaboration with the campus.

Benefits for VHCC and VHCC Faculty:

  • Enrich teaching and learning.
  • Build reciprocal partnerships with the local community.
  • Create new areas for research and scholarship while pursuing professional recognition and reward.
  • Extend campus resources into the community.
  • Strengthen the value of the scholarship of engagement.