Service Learning Benefits
Service learning has potential benefits to everyone involved: students, faculty, and the community, supported by research.
Students in service-learning classes can benefit academically, professionally, and personally. These are just a few of the ways:
- Increase understanding of the class topic.
- Gain hands-on experience (possibly leading to an internship or job later).
- Opportunities to contribute to the Las Vegas community while building resumes and work experiences.
- Explore or cement values and beliefs.
- Develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Grow understanding of diverse cultures and communities.
- Learn more about social issues and their root causes.
- Improve ability to handle ambiguity and be open to change; become more flexible.
- Develop or enhance skills, especially in the areas of communication, collaboration, and leadership.
- Test out skills, interests, and values in a potential career path, or learn more about a field that interests a student.
- Grow a professional network of people to possibly connect with later for jobs or internships.
- Satisfy the student’s urge toward public service or civic participation.
Faculty can benefit personally and professionally from integrating service learning into courses. Teaching with service learning can:
- Encourage interactive teaching methods and reciprocal learning between students and faculty.
- Add new insights and dimensions to class discussions.
- Lead to new avenues for research and publication.
- Promote students' active learning; engage students with different learning styles.
- Help students achieve the UNLV undergraduate learning outcomes.
- Develop students' civic and leadership skills.
- Boost course enrollment by attracting highly motivated and engaged students.
- Provide networking opportunities with engaged faculty in other disciplines.
- Foster relationships between faculty and Las Vegas community organizations, which can open other opportunities for collaborative work.
- Provide firsthand knowledge of community issues; provide opportunities to be more involved in community issues.
- Increase student retention (Astin & Sax, 1998).
Community partners participating in service learning can benefit in these ways:
- Gain additional human resources needed to achieve organizational goals.
- Inject new energy, enthusiasm, and perspectives into an organization's work.
- Grow an organization's volunteer pool; service-learning students will share their experiences with friends and classmates.
- Increase public awareness of key issues.
- Reach out to youth — an important part of any organization's future support.
- Educate students/youth about community issues; correct any misperceptions.
- Help prepare today's students to be tomorrow's civic leaders.
- Network with colleagues in other organizations and agencies.
- Identify and access other university resources; build relationships with UNLV faculty, students, and staff.