Baseline Standards

Baseline Standards for Service Learning Courses at Quinnipiac President’s Advisory Committee on Service Learning

Many faculty members use experiential learning and service learning techniques and opportunities in their courses. Quinnipiac University encourages these techniques, particularly when service learning is a central part of a course.

In some courses at Quinnipiac, Service Learning plays a fundamental role. Quinnipiac University promotes these courses by designating them as “SL” courses. In the University bulletin, prior to student registration, these courses receive an “SL” next to the course title, and “community service TBA” next to the course meeting times. The purpose of the SL designation is to help interested students locate Service Learning courses in the semester bulletin during registration, to help faculty develop better Service Learning practices and goals in their courses, and to create a record of Service Learning opportunities at Quinnipiac University.

I. Service Learning courses designated “SL” have the following characteristics:

A. Service Learning Project

1. The SL course must have as its central feature a Service Learning project which involves student-community contact, and student reflection on the experience of engaging in the Service Learning project.

2. The project must be designed jointly with a community partner engaged in some form of public service or community service.

  • The community partner must be a government agency, a nonprofit corporation or a community-based organization.

3. The project must be designed to help meet real community needs, as identified by the community partner.

4. The goal of the project is to leave behind significant, ongoing and demonstrable community benefits. Community benefits should be assessed during and after the course is completed.

5. The project must be substantially complete by the end of one semester.

6. Multiple community projects and community partners are possible in a course.

7. The project must require a minimum of 8-10 hours of service to the community for each student in the course. The hours of service may be divided over a number of service sessions, at the discretion of the faculty member and the community partner.

8. All students in the course must play an active role in a community service project.

  • Not all students need be engaged in the same project (i.e. multiple community projects are possible).
  • Each student will have at least some amount of direct interaction with the community partner or community members.
  • The forms of community interaction involved in the service project may take many forms such as student action off-campus, community members visiting class, or field trips. Some students may play different roles in their projects that have more direct contact with the community partner than students in other roles (e.g. one student may be spending most of the time off-campus working with the community partner while his/her project partner is spending more time in the library conducting research necessary to the project).

B. Student Reflection on Service Experience

1. A minimum of 25 percent of the course grade must be based on evaluations of the student’s reflection on the experiences of working on the community project. Reflection must be a combination of both academic reflection and personal reflection.

  • Academic Reflection:

1. A minimum of 15 percent of the grade for the course must be based on the student’s academic reflection on his/her experience in the community project, where the student’s work seeks to understand the connection between experiences and skills developed in the field and ideas and theories presented in reading and classroom.

  • Personal Reflection:

1. A minimum of 10 percent of the grade for the course must be based on personal reflection and self-examination on his/her public responsibilities as a member of the community.

2. Student Reflection can occur across multiple assignments.

3. Reflection can occur in written assignments such as a field journal, paper or relevant questions on exams.

4. Reflection can occur in oral assignments such as class discussions or presentations.

II. Procedure for Faculty Proposing a Course for “SL” designation

1. A proposal for a course to receive an “SL” designation in the Bulletin must be made before the second week of the semester prior to the semester in which the course will be conducted.

2. Look for workshops on Service Learning course construction sponsored by the university. Typically there is at least one such workshop per semester.

3. A Service Learning Handbook with guidelines and resources is available through Career Services in the College of Arts and Sciences.

4. For further assistance and teaching ideas, please contact the chair of the Service Learning Committee, Greg Garvey, at 203-582-8389 or e-mail The committee can offer a faculty member support in course construction, ideas for Service Learning Projects, community partners and model syllabi.

5. For further assistance on identifying potential community partners appropriate to the course, model syllabi from many disciplines and literature on Service Learning Course construction, please contact Vincent Contrucci, director of community service, at 203-582-5351 or e-mail

6. The University has an extensive library of books and materials on developing and teaching Service Learning courses located in the Arnold Bernhard Library.

7. Contact the relevant department chair for initial course approval.

8. Submit a draft syllabus and one-page proposal describing course goals, projects and community partners. The proposal must meet the standards for “SL” designation as outlined above.

9. The Service Learning Committee reviews proposals, and either suggests improvements or approves the course for SL designation.

10. The Chair of Service Learning arranges for the course to have a designation of “SL” next to the course title, and “community service TBA” placed next to the meeting times.

11. Faculty will be invited to informally assess and share the results of the SL course with the Service Learning Committee

Back to top