Service Learning

Science student at Children's Museum

At IUPUI, students, faculty, and staff participate in educational service activities that mutually benefit the campus and community. We call this “service learning.”

Service learning is an integral part of the RISE to the IUPUI Challenge initiative. RISE encourages students to incorporate research (R), international experience (I), service learning (S), and experiential learning (E) into their degree programs.

Benefits of Service Learning

IUPUI defines service learning as “A course or competency-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students (a) participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and (b) reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and (c) an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.” 

The benefits of a service-learning project are numerous; we’ve outlined just a few of the perks below.

  • Develop research skills
  • Refine your interpersonal skills
  • Boost your critical thinking skills
  • Learn to see multiple viewpoints
  • Better understand how to access the larger community as a resource for skill building and learning
  • Identify multiple stakeholders and their interests
  • Interact with diverse populations
  • Gain career experience
  • Expand your professional network
  • Engage in community problem solving at local, national, and international levels
  • Opportunity to serve the community

Furthermore, most students agree that service-learning courses…

  • Deepened their interest in the subject matter
  • Enhanced their understanding of course content
  • Enabled them to apply skills and concepts learned in class
  • Influenced their values, beliefs and attitudes
  • Increased their self-esteem
  • Were beneficial to the community

Find a Service-Learning Project

Service Learning is typically a component of a class, but may occur in a variety of other academic contexts including:

  • First-year courses
  • Capstone courses
  • International service learning
  • Civic internships
  • Service-learning practica
  • Community-based research projects
  • Graduate and professional courses

School of Science departments have distinct service learning opportunities; these are course-based, credit-bearing educational experiences. Students should check with the Registrar’s Office or ask their academic advisor for more information on service learning courses.

The IUPUI Center for Service and Learning

The Center for Service and Learning (CSL) involves students, faculty and staff in educationally meaningful service activities that mutually benefit the campus and community. IUPUI has gained national recognition for its commitment to and scholarship on service learning and civic engagement.

CSL is comprised of four offices:

  • The Office of Community Service coordinates programs to promote and recognize the involvement of students, in the community. This office cultivates student leadership, organizes campus-wide service events, facilitates alternative break trips and works with student organizations and community agencies to promote service opportunities.
  • The Office of Neighborhood Partnerships collaborates with community organizations and other campus units to build long-term partnerships between IUPUI and its surrounding neighborhoods. This office facilitates the Community Outreach Partnership Center Initiative.
  • The Office of Community Work Study involves students in the community through Federal Work-Study employment. Through these placements, students have the opportunity to integrate career exploration and educational experiences with meaningful employment.
  • The Office of Service Learning assists faculty to develop, implement, and assess service-learning classes. This office consults with faculty, provides resources for course development, conducts research, and promotes the scholarship of engagement.

Environmental Service Learning

Since 1997, the Center for Earth and Environmental Science (CEES) and the Department of Earth Sciences have coordinated environmental service learning projects each semester that include locations on the IUPUI campus as well as numerous central Indiana parks, greenways, and natural areas. Through the service learning program, IUPUI faculty, staff, and environmental managers work with IUPUI students and community members to address urban environmental issues.