Beginning in the spring of 2010 MSU faculty have been offered the opportunity to designate their courses as service learning in the schedule of classes. Service learning at MSU is defined as a teaching method that utilizes student involvement in community service to meet instructional objectives of a course. Students apply information from a class in authentic settings while addressing real needs of the community that have been identified by the community.

Service learning is not adding on “volunteer” activities to a course. It is integrating service in such a way that students apply the knowledge and skills they are learning in class to meet community needs. The service activity is incorporated as part of the “out-of-class” work expected of each student registered in the course. The students’ learning experience is graded and is measured through prearranged reflection activities. Reflection is an essential element of a service learning course. It is a structured time for students to recount their experiences and the learning acquired in the community setting. It can be accomplished in a number of different ways, depending upon the instructor’s preference. Some common forms of reflection include writing in journals, answering specific questions posed through a class listserv, or classroom/small group discussions.

(*For existing pre-approved courses to update course information.)


Summer & Fall Courses – February 1st
Spring Courses – September 25th

Why Apply for the Designation?

Identifying courses as service learning in the schedule of classes:

  • allows students to know that they are enrolling in a service learning course in the registration process and begins to educate them to the terminology before they have the service learning experience;
  • brings greater visibility to the practice of service learning on the MSU campus and allows us to better document the benefits of this pedagogy to students, the community and faculty;
  • allows us to track such courses and the faculty and students who engage in this meaningful practice for reporting purposes.

The Service Learning Course Designation Process

  1. The faculty member completes the Service Learning Course Designation Submission Form and provides the accompanying materials to the OAE by the deadline shown above.
  2. The Service Learning Course Review Committee composed of faculty, professional staff and administrators will review the submitted materials and rate the level to which each course meets the 7 Criteria to receive the MSU service learning course designation.
  3. The committee will not only review proposals and syllabi to ensure they meet the 7 criteria listed, but will also offer suggestions and constructive input to make the service learning experience stronger and a positive experience for all involved.
  4. If the course is not approved the first time, the Service Learning Course Review Committee will provide constructive feedback and recommendations to the faculty member on how the course could be improved to meet all seven service learning course designation criteria. Faculty will be encouraged to re-submit.
  5. Once a course is approved for the service learning designation, notification will go out to the faculty member, Department Head, Dean, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and the Registrar’s office.
  6. The Registrar’s office will add the term “service learning” under the course title and course time in the schedule of classes. They also include the following text, “for more information Email:,” so that students who wish to learn more about what the term service learning means in the context of a course can reach the OAE with those questions.
  7. Any questions from students relating to the specifics of course content will be referred to the appropriate faculty member.
  8. A course that receives the designation will only continue to carry that designation as long as the same faculty member is listed as continuing to teach the course.
  9. Faculty will be contacted by the OAE to ask that they complete an UPDATE FORM so that any changes in partnerships, service, or course numbering can be documented.

Please contact the MSU Office of Activities and Engagement (994-6902 or if you have questions or would like to provide feedback on the service learning course designation process at MSU.

Faculty Toolkit for Service Learning in Higher Education

The Faculty Toolkit for Service Learning in Higher Education is a comprehensive resource for faculty members interested in both developing and deepening their understanding of academic service learning.

MSU Courses with Service Learning Designation

HDHL 455

Ethic of Care Course

Dr. Lynn Owens

I & ME 413

Ergonomics & Human Factors Engineering I

Dr. Laura Stanley

SOCI 368

Sociology of Latino Immigration

Dr. Leah Schmalzbauer

ACTG 494

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Seminar

Dr. Anne Christensen

ACTG 531

Tax Practicum

Dr. Anne Christensen

ARCH 450

Community Design Center Studio

Thomas McNab

CE 457/458

Senior Project I & II

Anders Larsson


La France aujourd’hui

Dr. Ada Giusti

HDHL 455

Ethic of Care Course

Dr. Lynn Owens

NRSG 117

Issues in Native Nursing

Magkian Doyle

NRSG 348

Nursing Care of Children and Families

Julie Ruff

NRSG 477 Population Based Nursing Care in the Community Laura Larsson

GPHY 358

GPS Mapping Service Learning Component 

Diana Cooksey