Service-Learning Designation

The University Service-Learning Committee (USLC) invites proposals for courses to receive Suffolk’s Service-Learning Designation. The designation will help students and advisors to identify service-learning courses.

Meet the USLC Committee:

Wyatt Bonikowski (English)

Jessica Mak (Biology)

Sandy Matava (Institute for Public Service)

Catherine McCabe (Sawyer Business School, Dean’s Office)

George Moker (Management and Entrepreneurship)

Sylvia Singleton (Accounting)

Carmen Veloria (Education)

Adam Westbrook (Center for Community Engagement) 

Frequently Asked Questions

To qualify for the designation, a course must meet Suffolk’s definition for service-learning (approved in 2015 by the faculty of CAS and SBS): 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.

Submit the application form [PDF] and your syllabus to Service Learning.

Proposals will be accepted by the USLC at any time. However, please note deadlines as indicated in mailings from your dean’s office. Submit materials by required dates for best consideration for inclusion of courses in next year’s academic Catalogs or for assignment of service-learning course types that will allow students and advisors to identify S-L courses using the MySuffolk class search during registration and advising periods. Proposals for courses to be taught in the upcoming academic year (fall or spring) should be submitted no later than the last day to add/register of the spring semester. For example, submit applications for fall semester courses during the first week of the prior spring semester.

Approved service-learning courses will have the letter “SL” indicated after the course number (e.g., EDUC 214 SL-Introduction to Teaching), indicating that every student in every section of this course is required to complete service-learning.

In addition, course descriptions for service-learning courses begin with a standard sentence that identifies the course as requiring service-learning: In this course students meet community needs by engaging in service-learning outside the classroom. Finally, S-L courses are searchable in MySuffolk by the course type “SL.”

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. Please use the Service-Learning Syllabus Template [DOC] to design your syllabus. Please note that this template also includes all of the information found in the university syllabus template.

We ask that you schedule a minimum of 10 hours of direct or indirect service. For optimal learning, 30 hours of engagement is recommended. Please visit the Modes of Service-Learning page for more information.

The Center for Community Engagement is dedicated to supporting Suffolk faculty, students and community partners who wish to collaborate on service-learning projects. We serve faculty by identifying potential projects with Community-based Organizations (CBOs), facilitating collaborative project planning with faculty and community partners, advising faculty on curriculum and syllabus development, training students, and providing administrative support throughout the duration of the project. Whether you are a veteran service-learning professor or are investigating the concept for the first time, we are here to help! Reach out to Director of the Center for Community Engagement, Adam Westbrook.

  • Seed Grants. The Center is proud to offer seed grants to encourage the use of service-learning as a pedagogical method and facilitate projects that would not be possible without additional funding. Applications are available for all full-time and adjunct faculty teaching undergraduate or graduate courses.
  • Service-learning Faculty Assistants (SLFAs). 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.
  • Community Partner. We offer guidance and support in developing community partnerships.
  • Service-learning Resource and Social Justice Library. The Center maintains a rich lending library of service-learning and social justice books. Resources are available for faculty to learn more about service-learning as pedagogy, best practices, and facilitating effective reflection. Faculty and students are welcome to visit the center and borrow books at any time.

See the USLC’s evaluation rubric, and will be evaluated using this checklist.

Community Partners/Risk Management

Community Engagement is a core value in Suffolk’s strategic plan. As an institution, we are committed to providing students with experiential learning both in and out of the classroom that enhance learning and scholarship. Service-learning is an essential part of the experiential learning strategy.

As an institution, we are committed to the safety of our students in and out of the classroom. We aim to provide a safe and enriching service-learning experience. We partner with community organizations with high safety standards. To accomplish this standard, we must limit service placements to organizations that have entered into a formal partnership agreement with Suffolk.

Questions & Answers

The Center for Community Engagement conducts annual site visits with all community partners to ensure safety, supervision, educational quality, and community partner benefit for all of our service-learning sites. As you prepare your course and find a partner, reach out to the Director of the Center for Community Engagement, Adam Westbrook, who can help you assess the safety and fit for your course.

To approve a community partnership for a service-learning course, please follow these guidelines. Faculty members teaching a service-learning course can choose one of the following community partnership options:

  • Community organization(s) identified by the CCE.
  • Faculty-identified community organization(s).
  • New partnership(s) co-developed by the faculty member and the CCE.

  • The CCE will maintain a list of pre-approved community organizations.
  • Once a faculty member has identified an area of interest, they should reach out the CCE to check the list of pre-approved organizations.
  • CCE will provide a list of contacts to start the partnership process.
  • Once the faculty and community organization decide to engage in a new project, information should be provided to the CCE so that the agreement can be updated to include this new specific project.
  • Please contact the CCE at 617-605-6306 or by emailing the Director, Adam Westbrook.

  • Once a faculty member identifies a community organization, they should contact the CCE to check if they are already approved as a university community partner.
  • If there is already an agreement in place, see guidelines above from option 1.
  • If there is not an agreement in place, faculty members will need to provide the CCE with the following information in order to complete a partner agreement:
    • The name of the organization.
    • Organization address.
    • Main contact at the organization (name, email, and phone number).
    • The name of the person at the organization that would have signatory power to sign the agreement (usually the executive director, etc.--name, email, and phone number).
    • A description of activities students will be engaging in when working with the organization.
  • Once CCE receives this information, they will reach out to the organization with the legal agreement and request for proof of liability insurance
  • Once the agreement has been processed, the CCE will notify the faculty member

  • If a faculty member identifies an area of interest with no current pre-approved partners, they should work with the CCE to identify new community organization.
  • The faculty member should let the CCE know what kind of organization they are interested in working with, what type of work they would like the students to engage in, etc.
  • The CCE will also work on establishing a formal partner agreement with this new partner.
  • Once the agreement has been processed, the CCE will notify the faculty member.