Community Engagement

Benefits of Service-Learning

Service-Learning has potential benefits to everyone involved: students, faculty, the institution and the community.


Students in Service-Learning classes can benefit academically, professionally and personally. These are just a few of the ways:

  • Increase your understanding of the class topic
  • Gain hands-on experience (possibly leading to an internship or job later)
  • Explore or cement your values and beliefs
  • Have opportunities to act on your values and beliefs
  • Develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Boost self-esteem, social competency and self-efficacy
  • Grow your understanding of diverse cultures and communities
  • Learn more about social issues and their root causes
  • Improve your ability to handle ambiguity and be open to change; become more flexible
  • Develop or enhance your skills, especially in the areas of communication, collaboration and leadership
  • Test out your skills, interests, and values in a potential career path, or learn more about a field that interests you
  • Connect with professionals and community members who you will learn from
  • Grow a professional network of people you might connect with again later for jobs or internships
  • Satisfy your urge toward public service or civic participation
  • Decrease stress and depression; increase life satisfaction
  • Enhance qualities and skills important to employers including:
    • Ability to work in a team structure
    • Ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization
    • Ability to make decisions and solve problems
    • Ability to obtain and process information
    • Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work
    • Ability to analyze quantitative data
    • Technical knowledge related to the job
    • Proficiency with computer software programs
    • Ability to create and/or edit written reports
    • Ability to sell or influence others  (2012 National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook Survey)


Faculty can benefit personally and professionally from integrating Service-Learning into courses. Teaching with Service-Learning can:

  • Encourage interactive teaching methods and reciprocal learning between students and faculty
  • Add new insights and dimensions to class discussions
  • Lead to new avenues for research and publication
  • Promote students’ active learning; engage students with different learning styles
  • Help students achieve the university’s undergraduate learning and development outcomes
  • Develop students’ civic and leadership skills
  • Boost course enrollment by attracting highly motivated and engaged students
  • Provide networking opportunities with engaged faculty in other disciplines
  • Foster relationships between faculty and community organizations, which can open other opportunities for collaborative work
  • Provide firsthand knowledge of community issues; provide opportunities to be more involved in community issues

Community Partners

Community Partners participating in Service-Learning can benefit in these ways:

  • Gain additional human resources needed to achieve organizational goals
  • Inject new energy, enthusiasm and perspectives into the organization’s work
  • Grow the organization’s volunteer pool: Service-Learning students will share their experiences with friends and classmates
  • Increase public awareness of key issues
  • Reach out to youth—an important part of any organization’s future support
  • Educate students/youth about community issues; correct any misperceptions
  • Help prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s civic leaders
  • Network with colleagues in other organizations and agencies
  • Identify and access other university resources; build relationships with faculty, students, and staff
    (University of Minnesota)


Institutions participating in service-learning can benefit in these ways:

  • Improves student satisfaction with college
  • Increases student retention
  • Students engaged in service-learning are more likely to graduate
  • Students who have engaged in service-learning are more likely to be hired directly after graduating
  • Improves community relations