Service Learning Course Criteria

The Office of Community Engaged Learning, Teaching, and Scholarship Faculty Advisory Committee has approved the following criteria for all service learning courses at Loyola. These criteria must be met in order for a course to be designated as a service learning course in LORA. Limited exceptions may be granted by CELTSFAC.

  1. Service learning activities must be performed in conjunction with a credit-bearing academic course offered in the fall or spring semester with a university course code. In certain situations, summer courses may include service learning.
  2. Service learning activities must support or enhance student learning objectives in the course. The role of service learning in achieving specific learning objectives must be stated in the course syllabus. More on learning objectives»
  3. Service learning activities must be performed in partnership with a preapproved agency or organization. Most community partners are nonprofit or government agencies or organizations. This is subject to limited public good exceptions, to be determined by the Community Engaged, Learning, Teaching, and Scholarship Faculty Advisory Committee. Partner organizations must have a signed Memorandum of Understanding on file prior to the commencement of service learning activities.
  4. To be eligible for transcript notations, students must document the minimum number of service learning hours for their course using either an official timesheet (for placements) or an hours report (for projects). Click here for more on the difference between placements and projects. Documented time may include training, orientation and planning time as well as on-site or direct service time. (Note: students who travel regularly to off-campus service learning sites are entitled to a 10% transportation hours credit.) Professors can select the number of service learning hours for their course, however the minimum number is 15. Exceptions must be approved by the Community Engaged Learning, Teaching, and Scholarship Faculty Advisory Committee. To receive a transcript notation, students must also adhere to OCELTS policies and provide high quality work to their agencies.
  5. The quality of students' performance must be evaluated by someone representing the community partner or its constituents. Students may be evaluated in groups or individually. Evaluations must be incorporated into course grading.
  6. Service learning activities must be mutually beneficial to effective teaching and learning and to a community partner and/or its constituents.
  7. For any service learning activities, all participating students must complete and submit a Service Learning Liability Waiver.
  8. Service learning faculty may designate service learning as "Required" or "Optional" for each service learning course. However, this designation cannot be changed by the professor after registration begins. 
  9. Service learning faculty agree to include the following in their syllabi:

• A clear objective for service learning which is explicitly connected to learning objectives of the course.

•A clearly articulated purpose for service learning in the course.

•A detailed description of the expectations (including time commitment, conduct, etc.) and the consequences (rewards and penalties) associated with service learning.

•Opportunities for students to reflect on their service learning experiences in a variety of ways. These reflections should challenge students to articulate what they are learning about course topics through their service.

•The percentage of students’ grades that will be determined by service learning.

•The name of the service learning partner (s) or a link to the agency list for the course.

Omitting these items from a service-learning course syllabus will prevent a course from being approved.