About Service Learning

A definition of service learning

The National Service Learning Clearinghouse (1994) defined service learning as ...

"A teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to:

  • enrich the learning experience,

  • teach civic responsibility, and

  • strengthen communities."

At the University of Dayton, service learning also frequently includes an element of faith formation. Service learning takes students beyond volunteering and other types of experiential learning; it is intentionally integrated into students' education through careful planning and guided reflection.

Benefits of Service Learning for Campus and Community

For students, service learning can present unique opportunities to expand knowledge and skills, enhance personal and spiritual development, or attain new insights regarding issues or cultures. For the community, service learning helps prove the values of creative campus-community partnerships. Effective service learners can help the community resolve immediate needs, build on community strengths already in place, and ideally contribute to lasting change.

Service learning is one of the key ways that the University of Dayton forms distinctive graduates who grow in their faith, pursue lifelong learning, and achieve professional success. Educated for adaptation and change, our graduates should be particularly well prepared for leadership and service in communities in which they will live and work.

The University of Dayton's long history of successful community partnerships encompasses a wide range of settings, from local neighborhoods to other welcoming communities in this country and abroad. As a result, UD has earned a reputation for leadership and service that sets us apart from many other universities.