PREX 403

Professional Readiness Service-Learning Experience

Service-learning programs are distinguished from other approaches to experiential education by their intention to benefit the provider and the recipient of the service equally, as well as to ensure equal focus on both the service being provided and the learning that is occurring.

To do this, Service-learning programs must have solid academic context where experiences are designed to ensure that both the service recipient and provider are enhanced and inspired through the project.

In the context of the PRE, students will grapple with an experience that fosters the discovery of their gifts, talents, and limitations. Approved experiences will include service that meets an identified and well-researched need (local or global), demonstrates critical and creative thinking, involves interaction with service recipients, and engages the student in service activity over a significant period of time. While the work may culminate in a single event, students are encouraged to create sustainable projects.

What This PRE Looks For

Service-Learning is a viable high-impact experience under the following criteria:

  • Academics from the classroom and research merge with service to the local and global community.
  • The combination of academic rigor, meaningful service, and life experience foster the enhancement of both the servant and the recipient.
  • Students who serve expand their knowledge, understanding and comprehension of valuable interactions and methods for making a positive contribution to society and culture.
  • Community partners are engaged and/or created to ensure the ongoing impact of the service provided.

In order to create a Professional Readiness Experience (PRE), Service-Learning requires the following:

  • Prerequisite: One service-related courses that require at least 10 hours of service and assessment of that service. (University 111 or other)
  • Research and discovery of the most legitimate needs of a community that a student can potentially address; and clear connection of academic study to that need.
  • Written plan that includes:
    • 40+ hours of service, 10 of which can include community-based participatory research.
    • Plan for sustaining expenses and resources.
    • Agreement from a supervisor approved by the IMPACT Center for Christian Ethics and Social Responsibility. This should be a faculty or staff member with experience in Service-Learning.
    • Approval from the IMPACT Center and/or the Service-Learning Advisory Council.

Possible Service-Learning Opportunities

  • Work with low-performing schools while researching impact of poverty on education (Social Sciences, Religious Studies, College of Education)
  • Coordinate work with local churches/organizations that work with homeless populations, such as Miracle Hill, to better understand homelessness (Psychology, Economics, School of Nursing)
  • Engage the campus and local community in an educational/action program to promote recycling (Sciences, Religious Studies, Psychology/Sociology)
  • Start a program of health screenings and education for underserved populations (Nursing, PA program, Exercise Science)

What Students Will Learn

Project Supervisor and student will develop student learning outcomes specific to the PRE, prior to the experience.

General learning areas to which this experience will contribute are:

  • Comprehend the importance of building mutually beneficial relationships and partnerships.
  • Understand process of researching and defining “legitimate need.”
  • Recognize problems and possibilities of identifying and meeting needs on either a local or global level.
  • Gain understanding of the efficacy of meaningful, impactful service.
  • Create and analyze both anecdotal and hard data to determine best practices for acting within a community or culture.
  • Evaluate choices about vocation and calling, and how these choices might empower future service for both God and humanity.
  • Build vocational abilities that will create opportunities and options, preferably with an ongoing commitment to serve others in some capacity.

Process For Completing A PRE Service-Learning Project

Project Supervisor

The procedures and protocol for these experiences will be overseen by the Service-Learning Advisory Council, under the leadership of the IMPACT Center for Christian Ethics and Social Responsibility. This will involve faculty and staff with expertise in the field of high impact service-learning experiences.


Students would offer a proposal for their project through the Center for Christian Ethics and Social Responsibility. The Center would then connect with appropriate faculty/departments/schools, and forward the proposal to the Service-Learning Advisory Council for final approval. Departments or schools can collaborate with the Center director to create viable service-learning classes to meet the criteria of a high impact experience. The Advisory Council would then receive the final proposal and endorse its designation as high impact service-learning.


  • Regular meetings with supervisor (bi-weekly minimum).
  • Students would submit weekly journal entries that reflect personal growth, greater understanding/research surrounding service, and progress towards completion of the project.
  • A final paper/presentation that includes evaluation of the impact of the project on the student and the service recipients. This should include a personal reflection on how the project impacted the student’s sense calling and preparedness for future study or vocation.
  • Departments and schools would include these pieces as a part of the requirements in their endorsed service-learning classes. They could also request the help of the Center and Advisory Council in evaluating final papers/presentations. The Center could also request that projects be forwarded as artifacts and evidences of Service-Learning outcomes.


  • Stakeholders would fill out surveys to determine the effectiveness of the project(s). Students would have to return surveys before receiving any possible academic credit.
  • Service-learning Advisory Council and Center for Personal and Professional Development would determine if the number of students, departments, and schools participating warrants the continuation of the Service-learning in the list of high impact practices.
  • They would then collaborate on necessary changes to make Service-Learning more effective as a career preparation option.

*Students desiring to appeal the evaluation of a Service-Learning PRE must follow the normal grade appeal process.