Service-learning can be a powerful pedagogy that enhances learning outcomes in your courses. The Office of Service Learning and Leadership serves as the hub for UNLV service-learning practice, offering faculty development workshops and design consultations for individual courses as well as academic programs. We support, assess, measure, and track service-learning as a pedagogical practice across campus.

Available Services and Resources

  • 1:1 consultations
  • Faculty workshops and presentations
  • Course/program design assistance
  • ‘Service-learning 101’ introductory workshops for classes
  • Facilitating introductions with potential community partners
  • Waiver/liability forms (paper and electronic)
  • Hours tracking
  • Learning assessment
  • Givepulse - an online service platform that can assist in discovering volunteer opportunities in the local community, connecting with community partners, managing volunteer liability forms, hours tracking, etc.
  • Discipline-specific service-learning literature reviews
  • Service-learning resource library including ‘Service-Learning in the Disciplines,’ a book series from Stylus. All books are available for loan.

Resources for Faculty

There is a large and diverse body of literature and research to support this teaching pedagogy. In an effort to capture the essence of this broad body of work, we have produced the UNLV Guide to Service-Learning, which may function as your primary reference document for service-learning design, implementation, and assessment. In it, we’ve condensed many resources on UNLV’s service-learning framework, course planning and design, assessment and evaluation, developing students’ capacity for critical reflection, and developing critically reflective practices as an instructor. While you can find some information on these topics on our website, much more is covered in the guide.

Service-Learning Forms

Designating a Service-Learning Course

UNLV has established a set of six criteria for service-learning courses, all of which must be met in order for a course to be formally designated and tracked as a service-learning course. These criteria are as follows:

  1. The relationship with the community partner is clearly articulated and mutually agreed upon. It may be a one-time collaboration, but longer-term collaborations often yield more significant community impact and deeper student learning. Best practice is to involve the community partner as a close educational partner in the course design process from the beginning.
  2. The community need being addressed is clearly defined, preferably by the community (or community partner) itself.
  3. The associated assignments stemming from the service-learning experience(s) must directly contribute to the student's course grade.
  4. At least one course learning outcome is achieved through the service-learning experience.
  5. The service that students engage in must demonstrably benefit a public good. Some internships, externships, placements, and other academic credit-bearing experiences that are primarily designed for workforce preparation or student professional development, while valuable, are not service-learning unless they expressly meet this criteria.
  6. Students must be guided through a meaningful opportunity to reflect on, make meaning of, and translate their experience to broader personal, course, or disciplinary contexts. This may be done in any number of ways including but not limited to: direct facilitation, guiding reflective prompts, papers, journals, etc.

The Office of Service Learning and Leadership can assist you in best integrating all six practices, and is happy to review draft service-learning course syllabi before being formally submitted to Curriculog. Contact us at for further information.

How Service-Learning Pedagogy Supports your Promotion and Tenure Process

The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents Handbook, which contains all institutional-level policy regarding faculty tenure, includes language supporting community engagement in all three standards/ratings used in consideration of appointment with tenure. This includes the standards of Teaching/Performance of Assigned Duties; Research, Scholarly, Creative and Entrepreneurial Activity; and Service. The language regarding community engagement for each standard is outlined below:

Teaching/Performance of Assigned Duties: “If applying for tenure as a university instructor, a record of effectiveness as a teacher including, but not limited to, demonstrated teaching competence and efficiency in a classroom…. Such a record may include, for example, a showing of the ability to impart knowledge, to excite students' interest in the subject matter, to evoke response in students, to demonstrate competence in advising students, and to demonstrate community-engaged teaching.” (NSHE Board of Regents Handbook, Title 2, Chapter 3, Page 5-6)

Research, Scholarly, Creative and Entrepreneurial Activity: “Demonstrated continuing professional growth related to the academic faculty member's discipline or program area as shown by a record of research, scholarly, creative or entrepreneurial activity, each of which may include community engagement, resulting in publication or comparable productivity.” (NSHE Board of Regents Handbook, Title 2, Chapter 3, Page 6)

Service: “(E) Recognition and respect outside the System community for participation in activities that use the faculty member’s knowledge and expertise or further the mission of the institution, or that provide an opportunity for professional growth through community engaged interaction with industry, business, government, and other institutions of our society, within the state, the nation or the world.” (NSHE Board of Regents Handbook, Title 2, Chapter 3, Page 6)