» Service-Learning

Although there are multiple definitions of service-learning, Chapman University approaches service-learning as an academic experience in which students learn from active involvement with community projects and organizations. They contribute skills and knowledge to community needs while integrating the experiential knowledge they gain with their academic studies. Service-learning helps students transcend classroom boundaries and traditional forms of learning, resulting in the development of mutually rewarding civic ties and enhanced social understanding.

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  • Getting Started: Step 1
  • Step 2
  • Step 3
  • Step 4
  • Step 5
  • Design a service-learning course. 

    Visit any of the resources below to learn more about research on best practices for service-learning and community-campus partnerships. This information may be useful to share with the community partner(s) you identify in step 2.

  • Identify a community partner.  

    Feel free to browse this list of community partners that meet University liability and risk requirements. If you would like to partner with a different community agency, you will need to ensure the organization provides the University with a Certificate of Insurance that names Chapman University as an additional insured and Certificate Holder. This will need to be provided to Risk Management and should be renewed each year. Contact the organization to learn more about their mission, current plans and programs, and whether their needs will match yours to ensure a mutually beneficial partnership.

  • Arrange a meeting.  

    Arrange a meeting with your community partner to further discuss the learning objectives of your course and identify appropriate service opportunities for students. This is a good time to discuss times for service that would work best for students, public transportation options, accessibility for students with disabilities, and the role of partners as co-educators. If your partner requires an agreement with the University, please be mindful of first having that reviewed through the University contract process.

  • Ensure safety.  

    It is important to ensure that all partners are aware of risks associated with the intended service experience. After learning more about these risks through conversations with your partner and/or visits to the service site, you will need to develop and ensure all students complete a University waiver of liability. If you intend for Chapman students to work with minors, either on-campus or in a local community, you will need to follow University protocol for working with minors. This will include adding your course to a registry of programs working with minors, ensuring students complete an online training for preventing sexual misconduct with minors, and requiring students to complete a background check (usually coordinated by your community partner).  Please note different requirements for working with youth on- and off-campus.

  • Check in regularly and plan for evaluation. 

    Once your students begin their service, check in regularly with your partner to identify any areas of development and/or follow up that might help students be more effective in their service and connect their experience to your course learning outcomes. You might also want to develop an evaluation plan with your partner to review the partnership at the end of the semester and plan for the future of the partnership.

Contact Us

Richard Ruppel, Ph.D.
Director of General Education