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Loyola University Chicago


Center for Experiential Learning

Ways to Partner

Making Service-Learning Work...for YOU

‌There is no single way to structure a service-learning experience...but there are certain ways of partnering that work more consistently than others!  The following partnership models reflect the most commonly-employed service-learning course designs used by Loyola faculty.  These offer some examples of how various agency missions, opportunities, and needs might interface with classroom learning objectives.

Recruit Students as Volunteers!

(AKA the Placement Model)

In a placement model course, individual students or groups of students fill normal volunteer roles at your organization, usually offering 3-5 hours per week throughout the semester for a total of 20-40 hours of service (depending on the course requirements and the needs of the service site).  Back in the classroom, discussions and assignments help students apply or draw course concepts out of their community-based experiences.  For example, students in an Intro to Sociology class might volunteer at a range of area social services agencies and reflect on their experiences in light of in-class discussions of historic and contemporary social problems.

The "Win-Win":  Students get relevant, real-world experiences; YOU expand your volunteer pool!

Making it Work:

Engage Students, Classes, or Multiple Classes in Projects!

(AKA the Project Model)

In some courses, service learners—working alone or in groups under the guidance of their course instructor—produce something or complete a specific project for their agencies, acting almost as (pro-bono) consultants or contractors.  Often, these classes work on answering research questions.  For example, students in an environmental studies class might do an environmental audit of an agency’s operations or facilities; students in an educational methods class might prepare a curriculum for a summer enrichment program; students in a computer science class might develop or modify a database for their agency clients.  Sometimes, organizations work with the CEL to sequence the efforts of multiple classes so as to accomplish longer-term, more complicated goals.

The "Win-Win":  Students apply their academic knowledge to real-world problems; YOU get a concrete product (and free expert assistance from the faculty member teaching the class)!

Making it Work:

Get Students to Spread Your Message!

(AKA the Community Education/Advocacy Model)

Sometimes students in a course take material they are learning in class and share it with audiences in the broader community, often to inspire community action or influence policy on a particular issue.  Students may prepare workshops, host events, produce videos and white papers, do community organizing, or run media campaigns to get the message out there.  Again, this sort of class may involve a significant research component.  For example, students in a nursing class may run a health fair for the local community; students in an environmental studies class may partner with local schools to run a poster contest about water conservation tips; students in a history class may hold a symposium on contemporary forms of slavery.

The "Win-Win":  Students must master ideas in order to teach them, and build communication/presentation skills; YOU get your message out there, often in a creative or contemporary way!

Making it Work:

Need some direction as you brainstorm ways for YOUR organization to partner with the service-learning program?  Download our "Advancing Your Organization's Priorities through Service-Learning" Worksheet!


Service-Learning Program · Center for Experiential Learning · 1032 W. Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60660
Shipping address: Sullivan Center for Student Services · 6339 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, IL 60660
Phone: 773.508.3366 · Fax: 773.508.3955 · E-mail: servicelearning@luc.edu

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