The WCU Center for Service Learning strengthens the relationship between the campus
and the wider community. We help students, faculty, and staff find opportunities to
volunteer and to do service learning. We also connect community groups with university
members who can help them.
As an administrative support unit in the Academic Affairs Division, The Center is
supported in its mission by the Service-Learning Advisory Board, which recommends policies and procedures and assists in creating quality relationships
among campus and community stakeholders.
What is service learning?
Service learning combines community service, academic instruction, and structured
reflection. Students who do service learning can develop a better understanding of
course content, meet genuine community needs, develop career-related skills, and become
How does service learning differ from community service or volunteerism?
Service learning is always connected to academic coursework, while community service
is not. For example, if a group of friends do a river cleanup, it would be classified
as community service. If an environmental science class studied water pollution, then
did a river cleanup as part of their coursework, it would be service learning.
Where can I volunteer?
You can find a list of our community partners here. Click on the name of any group for more information, including contact information,
hours of operation, and possible volunteer activities. We work with a wide variety
of organizations across Western North Carolina. These groups focus on many topics,
such as children, youth, & education, the elderly, poverty-related issues, the environment,
animals, arts & culture, and medical care. If you need help connecting with a group
or setting up a volunteer project, please contact us.
How can I find out about upcoming service opportunities?
You can learn about upcoming service projects by looking at our calendar or our Facebook page, visiting us in Belk 273, or subscribing to our weekly email updates. If you would
like to receive email updates, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if I don't have a vehicle?
If you would like to do community service, but you don't have a vehicle, you have
several options. Students can carpool with their friends, take advantage of service
sites close to campus, participate in service opportunities where transportation is
provided, or use Jackson County Transit. Service sites on or within 1 mile of campus
include the Ramsey Center, the Mountain Heritage Center, NCCAT, CuRvE, the Cullowhee
Valley School, and Full Spectrum Farms. The Center for Service Learning organizes
Days of Service several times a year, and provides transportation for volunteers who
need it. With 24-hour notice, Jackson County Transit will transport students to local locations for $3 each way.
The Center for Service Learning also has a van that is available for use by faculty, staff, and students who are employed by the
university. Contact us for more information about reserving the van.
Where can I find paperwork for participating in service learning?
You can find forms here. Before you begin volunteering, you should complete a "Conduct & Waiver of Liability"
form, which is attached to the "Application for Service Learning (for Course-Related
Service)". You can also print out a time sheet, to track the service hours that you
I have to do community service because I was written up by the campus police or my
RA. What should I do now?
First, you will need to visit the Department of Student Community Ethics in Brown Hall. They will tell you how many hours you must complete, and the deadline
to complete your hours. If you need help finding a site where you can complete your
hours, visit us in Belk 273 and we can offer suggestions.
I would like to include service-learning in a course but I'm not sure where to start.
What resources are available to help me?
Is there a special designation for service-learning courses in the catalog?
Yes. The Faculty Senate unanimously approved the "SLC" ("Service-Learning Component")
designation in 2007. If a course meets certain criteria, "SLC" will be added to the course's catalog description and to students' transcripts.
However, please note that a course does not need to have the "SLC" label to be considered
a service-learning course.
What professional development opportunities are available to faculty?
The Center for Service Learning offers periodic professional development sessions
that focus on various topics in service learning and community engagement. Contact
the Center for more information, or if you are interested in a particular topic. In
addition, Campus Compact – a national coalition of college and university leaders
dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement, and service learning in
higher education – provides various professional development opportunities for faculty
and administrators throughout the year. North Carolina Campus Compact organizes an annual service-learning conference called PACE (Pathways to Achieving
Civic Engagement) primarily for faculty involved in service learning and civic engagement.
The Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement is held in March and
the International Research Conference on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement is
held in March and the International Research Conference on Service-Learning and Community
Engagement in October.
Are there opportunities to publish in the field of service learning?
Will using service learning as a teaching strategy count in the promotion and tenure
Yes. WCU's tenure, promotion, and retention guidelines reward the range of scholarly
activities proposed by Ernest Boyer (1990). Effective service-learning pedagogy can
be demonstrated through the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and faculty
engagement with the community through the scholarship of application.