Service-Learning Faculty Resources

The Center for Community Engagement is committed to supporting faculty members who incorporate service-learning into their teaching. To do so, we provide staff support and expertise as well as reference resources and grant funding to promote high-quality service-learning programming within the university.

Why Service-Learning?

As part of Suffolk University’s 2025 Strategic Plan, experiential learning serves a key purpose. As part of this initiative, service-learning provides an opportunity across various courses, as well as related co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, to meet this objective.

Why Participate?

You, as members of our faculty, play a key role in identifying existing courses, or developing new courses, that can meet the requirements of service-learning. Your course may already include activities and assignments that could meet service-learning requirements, as well as help students achieve their graduation requirements. Success in service-learning begins with your commitment to providing your students a real-life experience, where they see themselves as valuable leaders and participants in our global society.

What Qualifies as Service-Learning?

To qualify for service-learning, a course must meet Suffolk’s definition for service-learning:

At Suffolk, service-learning is a pedagogy integrating academically relevant service activities that address human and community needs into a course. Students connect knowledge and theory to practice by combining service with reflection in a structured learning environment.

Learn about what qualifies for service-learning on our service-learning designation page, or reach out to the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), and we can assist you with understanding the required qualifications, curriculum design, and committee review process.

What is the Center for Community Engagement (CCE)?

The Center for Community Engagement creates lasting connections among Suffolk University, nonprofit organizations, and community-based organizations. We support projects that serve community-identified needs and enrich our students’ education on the academic and co-curricular sides of the university. The resources below are available to all faculty at Suffolk that can help make service-learning a positive experience for students, community partners, and faculty. Take advantage of the resources below that the CCE provides.

The CCE provides the following resources to assist you with identifying your course as service learning:

  • Faculty Resources
  • Service-learning Faculty Assistants
  • Syllabus Tips
  • Service-learning Seed Grants

Service-Learning Faculty Resources

The Director of the CCE is available to consult with faculty members about service-learning project development, partnership with community-based organizations, curriculum and syllabus creation, student orientation, and project assessment. Faculty members interested in working with the Center to develop a service-learning component for their course should contact the office at least one semester in advance to begin the consultation process. Faculty pursuing service-learning designation for their courses should visit the Service-Learning Designation pages for detailed information. If you are interested in requesting an SLFA to support service-learning in your course, please contact the Director of the Center for Community Engagement.

Service-Learning Faculty Assistants (SLFAs) work with a specific faculty member to provide support for service-learning projects. Trained and supervised by the Center for Community Engagement service-learning staff, SLFAs are available to assist faculty members with student orientation, coordination of service placements, administration of paperwork, reflection activities, and ongoing project management and support. The SLFA is the primary Center contact person for a faculty member for the duration of a semester.

Suggestions for Service-Learning Syllabus Elements

Incorporating service-learning project information into your syllabus is an important step in integrating the service component into the course. The project information helps clarify expectations and requirements for students, and streamline administrative processes. When writing about the service-learning component in your course syllabus, consider including the following elements:

  • Is the service-learning component optional or required? If it is optional, indicate how and by when students need to indicate that they are choosing this option, and whether the service-learning component replaces other assignments.
  • The number of hours of service that each student must perform.
  • The learning objectives for the service-learning placement. This can be a brief statement, which will help the students connect the service component to the academic learning objectives of the class.
  • A description of the community partner organizations (e.g. the organization’s mission, the population that they serve, etc.)
  • A description of the actual service component.
  • A description of the reflection activities connected to the service component (e.g. journal, class discussions, reflection papers, etc.)
  • Important dates, including:
    • Date by which students must elect to pursue the service-learning option and/or their service site
    • Date of the service-learning orientation
    • Date when students must submit required service-learning paperwork
    • Dates when reflection assignments are due
    • Final date to complete service hours
    • The name, contact information, and office hours of your Service-Learning Faculty Assistant
    • Location and contact information of the Center for Community Engagement

The University Service-Learning Committee has created a service-learning syllabus template [DOC] to help guide you through this process.

Service-Learning Syllabi Examples

In an effort to increase the number of courses being offered at Suffolk University with a service-learning component and enhance the quality of service-learning course projects, Service-Learning Seed Grants are being offered to faculty to develop service-learning courses.

Purpose of Seed Grants

Seed Grants for Service-Learning Course Development will be awarded to support the creation of a new or improved service-learning course (or course with a service-learning option), or further development of an existing service-learning initiative. Grant applications can be submitted before or at the beginning of the semester in which the grant is to be used.

Size of Award

Individual awards range between $300 and $700. The number of grants awarded in any given granting cycle will be determined by the Grant Proposal Review Committee.

Funding Period

The seed grant period of performance is only the semester for which the grant was requested. Any balance of funds will not carry over to the next semester.

Seed Grant Deliverables

Successful applicants will be required to:

  • Complete a final report. Detailed description of information to include will be provided.
  • Submit copies of materials developed through this project, including syllabi, handouts, samples of student reflection projects, professional presentations, and published articles.
  • Participate in a round table discussion with other faculty engaged in service-learning at Suffolk University toward the end of the fall semester. The goal is to build community among service-learning faculty, create future collaborative projects, and share resources and experience around service-learning.

Allowable Use of Funds

Seed Grant funds are to be used to support service-learning course development. Funding may enable the purchase and preparation of course materials and other resources associated with service learning course development, and the actual carrying out of the course.

Due Date for Proposals

Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis. Please consult the seed grant proposal guidelines [PDF] for details regarding proposal components and the proposal application. If you have any questions about this process, or about the proposal itself, please contact the Center for Community Engagement office.


Faculty Forms

Student FAQ's

The required student forms to access and enroll can now be found on our Canvas page.

Suffolk Impact Powered by GivePulse

The Canvas page provides a link and instructions to our GivePulse platform. Givepulse is our central platform where students can:

  1. Find Community Partners: Easily locate organizations by zip code and area aligned with students' interests.
  2. Sign up for Service-Learning (SL) Events: Explore and register for various SL opportunities.
  3. Track Hours Served: Keep an accurate transcript of hours served with partners.
  4. Record an "impact": Impact - Stories and reflections about a student's experience with a community partner.
  5. ...and more!: There are additional features designed to enhance the community engagement journey.