Service-Learning is a specially designed learning experience in which students combine reflection with structured participation in community-based projects to achieve specified learning outcomes as part of an academic course and/or program requirement.

Examples of Service-Learning

Service-learning can happen, for example, when:

  • in a speech course, you research, write, and deliver a speech to raise money for a clean water agency
  • in a journalism course, you interview residents at a homeless shelter and write an article about them for publication
  • in a pre-health course, you work in a clinic and reflect on that experience
  • in a web design course, you design a new website for a tutoring center

Service-Learning is just one strategy for community engagement, and many different community engagement pathways and projects are ongoing at University of Cincinnati. In 2023, UC insitutionalized its official definition of Community Engagement:

Deliberate collaboration that is co-designed and leads to mutually beneficial, sustained impact.

We are deeply committed to building authentic relationships between the university and communities across Greater Cincinnati and beyond. Our engagement is grounded in responsibility as an education and innovation leader utilizing these relationships and our resources to advance social progress projects, informed by community expertise. Through these investments, University of Cincinnati students, faculty, staff, and alumni become active community members and civic-minded change agents, while the communities we collaborate with gain access to the University’s workforce, technology, research, and funds.

Regardless of modality, community served, or social issue addressed, UC community engagement participants strive for these values in their work:

  • Community Voice: Engagement defined by mutual problem solving and informed by community experience
  • Measurable Impact: Engagement is tracked and assessed for impact through evaluation and analysis.
  • Innovation: Engagement makes use of UC’s scholarship, research, personnel, and network to develop transformational approaches to complex issues.
  • Inclusion: Engagement creates for UC and partner communities a sense of belonging and shared community identity, characterized by leadership, civic duty, and empowerment.
  • Relational: Engagement is designed to produce long-lasting relationships that sustain long-term impact and change.