Service Learning

Service Learning Resources

Welcome to the Service Learning Resources page!

At the University of South Carolina Upstate, Service-Learning is defined as teaching and learning that blends service with credit-bearing courses, derives from a need in the community, defined by a community partner, founded on disciplinary content, and incorporating deep reflection.

 Service Learning, Scholarships, Teaching

On this page you will find a wide variety of helpful information, but we are also happy to meet with you personally. If you are new to Service Learning and would like to know more, are currently modifying a syllabus to incorporate Service Learning, need help identifying community partners, would like to share your success story, or would just like to talk, please email to schedule a chat!  Looking for a particular item or topic? See our A-Z Resources list

  • Service Learning Participation At-A-Glance

    Overview    2017-182018-19
    Students Enrolled  1,239 1,396
    Faculty Teaching  55 57
    Total Courses Offered  111 136
    Unique Courses Offered 86 62
    Colleges Involved 10 10

    Est. $ Impact

      $459,000*     $719,338*  


  • Simple Definition: 

    A method of teaching and learning that integrates student participation in organized service activities ­­into credit-bearing courses, including: community identified need, discipline-based instruction, and reflection

    Formal Definition:

    Service-learning at USC Upstate is defined as a method of teaching and learning that integrates student participation in organized service activities into credit-bearing courses. By collaboratively addressing identified community needs with a community partner, the service experience enhances student learning by providing an opportunity to observe, test and apply discipline-based theories, concepts and skills. The academic context enriches the service experience by raising questions about real world issues and by providing a forum to reflect upon them. Further, service-learning is a mechanism to achieve a broader appreciation of the discipline, to sharpen problem solving skills and to develop an enhanced sense of civic responsibility (Approved by Faculty Senate, 02/20/2015) 

  • Service Learning (SL)

    The original designation – based on our peers and aspirants in the university-based Service domain. Certified courses will have "Service Learning" in the course title on the Course Schedule and on students' transcripts.

    • ≥15 hours of service/student with an identified community partner (preparation + contact time + follow-up)
    • ≥ 30% of course grade based on service (performance, reflection, etc.)
    • ≤ 7% of the service (1 of 15 hours) = administrative (filing, mailing, etc.)
    • Survey-based program assessment (Do it yourself & encourage students & community partners to participate)
    • Guided reflection connecting service experience and course content
    • Identified need evolved with community partner
    • Adhere to 4 of the Service Learning SLOs
    • Complete Hours Served report

    Service Engagement (SE)

    Added to recognize and celebrate the broad spectrum of Service opportunities at Upstate. Certified courses will be tracked through attibutues to enable awards and congratulations, but course titles in the Course Schedule and on students' transcripts will be unaffected.

    • At least 4 hours of active service to the community per semester for each student 
    • Adherence to the community collaboration element of the Faculty Senate's Definition of Service Learning
    • Survey-based program assessment (Do it yourself & encourage students & community partners to participate)
    • Adherence to 2 of the Service Learning SLOs
    • Basic reflection tying service to course concepts
    • Complete Hours Served report

    Course Designation Overview

  • Frequently asked questions are provided on Service FAQ

    If you have questions of your own or would like to suggest an FAQ, please email

Developing a Course

The construction of a Service course is complex with details of Community and curricular needs, various approaches to reflection, etc. 

To guide interested teachers through exploring these concepts, we offer a course development aid. 

Developing a Course

And you are ready to apply for Certifcation of a Service course, do a final check using this page: 

Certifying a Course

Service SLOs

In order to promote best high-impact practices and create rigorous, career-relevant, accessible, and transformative service opportunities, USC Upstate has adopted the eight requisite career competencies identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). All Service designated courses will share a common assessment based on instructor-selected SLOs. 

Here are links to more SLO information: 
Service Course Support Funds

Each academic year, the Office of Service Learning and Community Engagement has a limited amount of funds to support Service related expenses in designated courses. Trips and projects without an associated course are ineligible.

Awards will be contingent on the quality of application, availability of funds, and diverse dispersion of funds across instructional units; therefore, some applications may not be funded, or may be partially funded.

Support Funds Overview & Application

Faculty Overview: Student Service Travel Scholarships

Doing service in unfamiliar communities has the potential to exponentialize the transformational experience in Service Learning. We are, therefore, delighted to support students traveling on formal Service trips (both international and domestic) which are associated with your officially designated Service Learning and Service Engagement courses. Students may find details and an application form on the Service Travel Scholarship page. 

Here is a matrix defining amounts awarded to successful applicants: 


 Service Learning 

 Service Engagement 

 Service Abroad  



  Service Away



If your trip is associated with a course that is already designated as Service, please email with the course number, the date, and the desitination of your trip, and we will add it to our list. 

If you have not yet officially sought a Service designation, please complete the appropriate Course Designation form.  

"Service-Away" supports the following domestic travel: 
  • at least 10 hours of Service (even for "Service Engagement" courses)  
  • at least 100 miles away from campus 
  • at least 2 overnight stays

At this point, the OSLCE offers no funds directly supporting faculty travel expenses. 

Service Learning Awards

Service Learning is a high‐impact college experience and part of our university's Up initiative. To recognize outstanding efforts by our members of our USC Upstate community, each year the Office of Service Learning and Community Engagement, in cooperation with the Office of the Provost, offers several awards each year to students, faculty, and staff who demonstrate superior commitment to Service Learning and Community Engagement.

More information and application

Past Programs

Service Learning Celebration Program 2019

Service Learning Celebration Program 2018  PDF Document Download

Forms & Templates

Links to FORMS are offered here as a shortcut for those who are already familiar with the background of each. Each of these has an associated "Overview" page. If you have not explored these yet, please do so before completing a form. 

As TEMPLATES have no associated "Overview" pages, a short description is provided here for each. Each of the templates employ yellow highlighting to clearly identify informatation that will need to be adjusted by instructors. 

  • Service Learning Contract
    This classroom tool has no offical power beyond your course, so you are welcome to modify this in any way that suites your needs. Key suggested components include SLOs (to be updated based on your individual selections & end-of-course assessment) and committment statements for students, community partners, and instructors. The second page is designed to capture details of when service will be completed together with a back up plan. 

  • Service Trip Waiver 
    This legal document should be used for field trips when you are transporting multiple students to a single service site in a University vehicle. Even students who choose to drive themselves to a 'field trip' site must complete this form. This form has been approved by University lawyers. Please insert the relevant information everywhere the form has yellow highlights.
    This form is NOT required for students driving individually to do recurring service on a regular basis. 
  • Visit the Campus Compact website for examples of syllabi by discipline.

    Other Service Learning Resources

    Suggested Readings

    • Albert, G. (1994). Service learning reader: Reflections and perspectives on service. Raleigh, NC: National Society for Experiential Education.
    • Boss, J. (1994). The effect of community service work on the moral development of college 
      ethics students. Journal o Moral Education, 23(2), 183-198
    • Bowen, G. A. (2007). Reflection methods and activities for service learning: A student manual an workbook. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.
    • Bradley, J. (1995). "A model for evaluating student learning in academically based service." In Troppe, M., Connecting cognition and action: Evaluation of student performance in service learning courses, Providence, RI: Campus Compact.
    • Bringle, R. G., Phillips, M. A., & Hudson, M. (2004). The measure of service learning: Research scales to assess student experiences. Wash., DC: American Psychological Association.
    • Cress, C. M., Collier, P. J., & Reitenauer, V. L. (eds.) (2005). Learning through serving: A student guidebook for service-learning across the disciplines. Sterling, VA: Stylus.
    • Eyler, J., & Giles, Jr., D. E. (1999). Where's the learning in service-learning? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    • Eyler, J., Giles, Jr., D. E., & Schmiede, A. (1996). A practitioner's guide to reflection in service-learning: Student voices and reflections. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University.
    • Giles, D. & Eyler, J. (1999). Where's the learning in service-learning? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc.
    • Heffernan, K. (2001). Fundamentals of service-learning course construction. Providence, RI: Campus Compact.
    • Jacoby, B. & Associates (1996). Service learning in higher education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
    • Jacoby, B. (ed.) (1996). Service-learning in higher education: Concepts and practices. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass.
    • Jacoby, B. (ed.) (2003). Building partnerships for service-learning. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass.
    • Jacoby, B. (ed.) (2009). Civic engagement in higher education: Concepts and practices. San Francisco: Jossey- Bass.
    • Kelshaw, T., Lazarus, F., & Minier, J. (2009). Partnerships for service-learning:Impacts on communities and students. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    • Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development.
      Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
    • Miller, J. (1994). Linking traditional and service-learning courses: Outcome evaluations utilizing
      two pedagogically distinct models. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 1(1), 29-36.
    • Morton, K. (1996). Issues related to integrating service-learning into the curriculum. In B. 
      Jacoby (Ed.), Service-learning in higher education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    • Rhoads, R.A., & Howard, J.P. (Eds). (1998). Academic service-learning: A pedagogy of action and reflection. New Directions for Teaching and Learning No. 73. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    • Stoecker, R., & Tryon, E. A. (2009). The unheard voices: Community organizations and service learning. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
    • Strait, J. R., & Lima, M. (eds.) (2009). The future of service-learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus.
    • Torres, J. (2000). Benchmarks for campus/community partnerships. Providence, RI: Campus Compact.
    • Waterman, A.S. (Ed.) (1997). Service-learning: Applications from the research. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Ehrlbaum and Associates.
    • Zlotkowski, E. (Ed.) (1998). Successful service-learning programs: New models of excellence in higher education. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Co.

    The Suggested readings are adapted from the University of Maryland’s Faculty Service Learning Resources and References