Skip to main content

Service Designation

Apply for Designation                service-learning

Courses that engage students in the community through volunteering, public service, campaigning, outreach, etc. are encouraged to be evaluated for an "S" designation. This distinction allows for all courses with a service component to be recognized and accounted for during relevant assessments. Service-learning has been identified as a high impact teaching practice and involves teaching specific learning outcomes through service and then reflecting upon that experience. Community engagement becomes a method of teaching, just as reading, lectures and other assignments. This allows students the opportunity to learn through experience, before reflecting upon this experience in the classroom and solidify their understanding. Courses that use this pedagogy of service-learning can be designated as service courses.  

There are some courses that ask students to participate in community service but do not necessarily incorporate reflection into the course or connect the service to the discipline. These courses are not utilizing the high impact service-learning pedagogy but are still relevant in the assessment of university engagement and are encouraged to apply for S designation.  

While service-learning pedagogy is recognized as a high impact teaching practice and is encouraged as an effective way to engage students in the community, all courses utilizing service should be submitted for designation. To capture the most academic community engagement, all courses submitted will be evaluated at two benchmarks and internally categorized as service courses (S) or service-learning courses (SL).

Service courses must meet the following criteria:

  • Course could range from 1-6 credit hours and includes 4 or more hours of service related activities.
  • Service aims at the development of civic education for participants in addition to fulfilling learning outcome(s). 
  • Course options ensure that no student is required to participate in a service placement that creates a religious, political, and/or moral conflict for the student.

Service-learning courses must meet the above criteria as well as the following:

  • Service to the community is reciprocal and is determined based on the community’s needs.   
  • Academic material is clearly linked to the service experience.
  • Explicit reflection activities are utilized to assess the learning outcomes tied to the service activity.

Designation Process

1. Submit an electronic version of the syllabus to

2. The CSL will review to determine if the course meets the criteria and follow up for any additional information needed

3. The course will be reviewed by the Service-Learning Faculty Advisory Committee

4. You will be notified about the designation decision and given feedback from the committee

5. The CSL will notify the registrar’s office to add the service attribute to your course

Further Information

For more details see our S(ervice) Designation Overview

If you would like support in developing your course or learning more about academic community engagement, please contact our academic community engagement coordinator at 304-293-8761 or

Connect with the Center for Service and Learning