Academic Service-Learning

"Service-learning is the various pedagogies that link community service and academic study so that each strengthens the other. The basic theory of service-learning is Dewey's: The interaction of knowledge and skills with experience is key to learning. Students learn best not by reading the Great Books in a closed room but by opening the doors and windows of experience. Learning starts with a problem and continues with the application of increasingly complex ideas and increasingly sophisticated skills to increasingly complicated problems."

- Thomas Ehrlich, from "Barbara Jacoby and Associates. Service-Learning in Higher Education: Concepts and Practices." San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass 1996.

Videos of Service-Learning Projects 



Watch this video showcasing two service-learning projects implemented in Teach for America Corps members' schools. The projects were a part of the SEC 592 seminar taught at NLU.


Introducing the NLU Civic Engagement Team

Contact the following Civic Engagement Team members (faculty & staff) for help with service-learning inclusion in your courses, questions regarding service-learning pedagogy, and if you are interested in becoming a team member to advance service-learning involvement throughout NLU.


  • Virginia Jagla, NCE
  • Vito Dipinto, NCE
  • Todd Price, NCE
  • Elizabeth Grace, NCE
  • Antonina Lukenchuk, NCE
  • Karen Roth, NCE
  • Susan Kerstein, CPSA
  • Danielle Laban, Student Experience
  • Toby Rajput, Library
  •  Tiffeny Jimenez, CPSA
  • Lauren Kornhauser, PACE
  • Judah Viola, CPSA
  • Amanda DaSilva, Student Experience
  • Eun Kyung Ko, NCE
  • Mary Kelly, CPSA
  • Karen Tardrew, NCE 
  • Kate Zilla, NCE
  • Kristine Becker-Kristufek, AmeriCorps VISTA
  • Ayn Keneman, NCE


Service-Learning Faculty Manual

Need an introduction to service-learning? Having trouble defining a service-learning project for your class? The Civic Engagement team has compiled this Service-Learning Faculty Manual to guide professors of any curriculum to utilize service-learning in their courses:


Service-Learning Civic Engagement Consortium (SLCEC)

The Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Consortium (SLCEC) brings universities together with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to promote and advocate for service-learning and civic engagement practices. SLCEC provides faculty professional develoment (PD's), generate civic learning opportunities with CPS schools, publishes an online student journal for civic engagement (SPACE - Student Perspectives About Civic Engagement), and advocates for policies that support and strengthen civic engagement practices.

SLCEC works to:

  • Encourage universities to generate increased opportunities for their students to learn through civic engagement;
  • Strengthen efforts by universities to prepare pre-service teachers to learn, experience, and use service-learning and civic engagement pedagogies as they enter CPS classrooms;
  • Encourage increased collaboration between universities and K-12 public schools in service-learning and civic engagement pedagogies and practices.

For more information, check out their webpage:


Illinois Campus Compact (ILCC)

Campus Compact is a national organization with representation in 32 states that supports service-learning in higher education. Visit their website at NLU is a member of the Illinois Campus Compact. Visit their website at The Civic Engagement Team frequently hosts workshops and other events as a resource for NLU faculty members. See events page for a list of upcoming events. 


Service-Learning Resources


Research, Assessment, and Evaluation


NLU Faculty

If you are already utilizing service-learning and want to let us know, or to find out ways you can utilize service learning in your classroom, please fill out the form found here and we will contact you.

Sample Lists of Syllabi with Service-Learning Inclusion by Discipline

Here is a list of syllabi with service-learning inclusion by discipline.







    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of the city's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to six classrooms, this location features a conference room, a computer lab with high-speed Internet access, an extensive research library and comfortable student lounges.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
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    NLU has a proud history of serving graduate students in southeastern Wisconsin. We currently offer all Wisconsin residents online programs in non-licensure education as well as a variety of business-related degrees.

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