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ASL Course Recognition

Approved October 30, 2008


For ASL designated courses sections to be offered in  Fall 2009 and thereafter.

 1.   The Proposing Faculty Member (PFM) interested in adapting an existing course section for ASL delivery completes an application form, to be signed by the department chair and dean indicating support in principle.  Dean’s approval at this stage implies a commitment to run the section after final approval (step 4 below) by the department chair.

 2.   The proposing faculty member participates or confirms past participation in the Service Learning Scholars (SLS) program reinforcing national standards of practice in ASL.

 3.   The proposing faculty member works with ASL office to produce a course syllabus that incorporates nationally accepted standards. 

 4.  The proposing faculty member submits the proposal to the department chair for final approval (this approval may be contingent on further iteration of the course syllabus with ASL office.)* PFM notifies ASL if proposal is not approved.

 5.         The department chair informs the Registrar of the ASL designation for sections of courses so approved.

 6.  The registrar notifies the Faculty Senate of the course-section approval, for reading into the Senate Record and for noting in the Schedule of Classes.

Grandfathering of courses that presently incorporate service learning but which have not been approved by ASL office. (This section applies through Academic year 2008-09)

 1.   The Proposing Faculty Member (PFM) notifies the department chair, dean, and ASL office that he/she currently incorporates a component of service learning in his/her course sections of a particular course.

2.   The ASL office evaluates service learning component as reflected in the course syllabus and compares with national standards.

Option A: The course meets national standards or can be modified to meet standards.

After approval by the ASL office, the PFM submits course syllabus to the department chair for final approval*.  The department chair notifies the Registrar to add the appropriate designation to the specific course section for the specified academic term.

Option B: The course does not meet national standards and cannot be easily modified to meet standards.

The proposing faculty member will be invited to participate in the scholars program.


These criteria will be used by the Academic Service Learning office to certify that a course meets the standards for the ASL designation:

  1.  It is a credit-bearing undergraduate- or graduate-level course;
  2.  It integrates service and academic course content so that each significantly informs and enhances the other;
  3. There are planned benefits for the community partner and the students, and the service addresses a need and follows processes that are mutually agreed upon by the partner agencies and the instructor, which are described on the application form that accompanies the course syllabus and are reviewed by the department chair and ASL office; and
  4. Student course assessment and credit are based upon the demonstration of student learning including critical reflection regarding the integration of the service and the academic course content.



  1. Adaptation of an existing course section to ASL delivery is intended to reinforce and/or enhance the already-established fundamental content learning objectives of the course.
  2. If a proposed course syllabus does not meet ASL standards, and the PFM chooses not to modify or attend the Scholars program, the course can continue to be offered, with permission of department, but without ASL designation in the Schedule of Classes.
  3. Approval applies only to the specific course section approved and to the specific instructor approved to deliver that specific course section.


#Academic service-learning is a form of service-learning for which the student receives credit and a grade based on his or her demonstration of academic learning as measured by the instructor.  The service experience is considered a course component and is comparable to readings, discussions, research, presentations, etc.

Service-learning is a particular form of experiential education that incorporates community service.  The International Partnership for Service Learning offers an introduction to the idea of service-learning, explaining that "service-learning responds to students' desire to be in the world learning from experience as well as classes, and to put their education to use for the good of others."  The National Center for Service-Learning expands on this definition with three key characteristics of service-learning:

1.     Service-learning constitutes activity that is focused on meeting a human need in the community where that need has to do with the well-being of individuals and/or of the environment in which they live.

2.     Key academic and/or civic objectives to be achieved through combining service with learning have been identified prior to the activity.

3.     Opportunities for students to reflect on their experience and its connection to specific academic/civic objectives are incorporated into the activity.

Another key element of service-learning as it is discussed in Service Matters is its explicit connection to academic coursework.  This is reflected in Bob Bringle and Julie Hatcher's definition of service-learning as "a course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students (a) participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and (b) reflect on service activity as a means of gaining a deeper understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility."

The definition used by the Alliance for Service Learning in Educational Reform further emphasizes goals of civic responsibility and community engagement in service-learning.  Service-learning involves students in community activities that complement their classroom studies.  Every service-learning program is unique, but all aim to help students increase their academic skills through understanding how what they learn in school can be applied to the real world.  Service-learning programs help students become interested in their communities and learn how they can affect the quality of life in them.

From these definitions, we may derive three general characteristics of service-learning:

  1. It is based on the experience of meeting needs in the community.
  2. It incorporates reflection and academic learning
  3. It contributes to students' interest in and understanding of community life.

Bringle, Robert and Julie Hatcher. "A Service Learning Curriculum for Faculty," in: Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 2, pp. 112-122.



David Dauwalder, Provost                                                                        Date