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
  • Eun Kyung Ko, NCE
  • Judah Viola, CPSA
  • Amanda DaSilva, Student Experience
  • Kate Zilla, NCE
  • Mary Kelly, CPSA
  • Karen Tardrew, NCE 
  • Ayn Keneman, NCE
  • Kristine Becker-Kristufek, AmeriCorps VISTA


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:

(SLCEC*) Presents a Faculty Professional Learning Session Series for 2015-16

Session #1: Introduction to Service-Learning: Principles, Pedagogy, Practices
Friday, October 2, 2015 at NLU's Chicago Campus
Service-Learning:  Principles, Pedagogy, and Practice is an opportunity to learn about and dig deeper into service-learning practice - a recognized high impact learning strategy. We will experience service-learning implementation in Chicago public middle and high schools and share service-learning strategies in university classrooms as part of our learning.  Faculty are invited to attend our first and last sessions and then choose 2-4 site visits to attend during the 2015-16 academic year.  Our final session will take place on May 13, 2016, at National Louis University with participating faculty presenting their own strategies for embedding service-learning in the curriculum. Faculty who attend two working sessions and two site visits and document their service-learning plans/projects are eligible to receive a $300 stipend. Participating faculty will be invited to present their service-learning project/plan at the May 13th session. 

Interested faculty should register at: SLCEC 2015-16 Series.  

 Photographs below are from the SLCEC Event hosted by SLCEC & Civic Engagement Center:

SLCEC pic PPT Service-Learning SLCEC PD Day #1 2015 Community Organizations Speaking

SLCEC PD Day #1 2015 Group Shot of SLCEC Faculty Participants SLCEC PD Day 1 2015 Speakers from CPS Schools

SLCEC Professional Development: Site Visit #1 of 4 at CPS Schools (Hancock High School)

Thursday, November 5th from 10am - 1pm at Hancock High School located at 4034 W. 56th Street in Chicago, IL. Hancock received the prestigious Democracy School Award for their work in civic education & has consistently been a high performer on service-learning practices. Students & faculty are actively engaged in Service-Learning and engaged in their community. Below are some photos from the event:

 Classroom picture  Meeting with SL coach Heather

Meeting principal of Hancock High School

SLCEC Professional Development: Site Visit #2 of 4 at CPS Schools (Evergreen Academy Middle School)

Tuesday, January 26th from 10am - 1pm at Evergreen Academy Middle School located at 3537 S. Paulina in Chicago, IL. A neighborhood school that takes anyone who wants to attend for grades 6 through 8 in a community that is working class and full of diversity. One of a few schools that has been awarded the prestigious Schools to Watch Award and only one that is a middle school. Their mission is to create a collaborative and safe environment with a rigorous and differentiated curriculum that aligns with the Common Core State Standards, strive to empower all students to explore, to create, and to make decisions while actively participating in, and being accountable for their learning as they become College and Career ready in an economically, culturally, socially and religiously diverse world. Students & faculty are actively engaged in Service-Learning and engaged in their community as well as truly putting the students need ahead of everything else and listens to their ideas & concerns.

Below are some photos from the event:

SLCEC Professional Development Evergreen Academy Middle School special ed teacher speaking SLCEC Professional Development #3 Evergreen Academy 1-26-16 SLCEC Professional Development #3 Evergreen Academy 1-26-16 SLCEC Professional Development at Evergreen Academy Middle School

SLCEC Evergreen Academy Service-learning pic SLCEC PD #3 Evergreen Academy group pic of NLU faculty

SLCEC Professional Development: Civics Summit @ Northeastern Illinois University

Thursday, February 4th from 9:30am - 11:30am at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, IL. Faculty members interested in civic education gathered to discuss the new civics course mandate that was passed by the Illinois General Assembly in 2015 and how we could better prepare our teacher candidates for civic education instruction. Guest speakers who presented materials were Sonia Matthew from the McCormick Foundation and Elizabeth Robbins from Department of Socail Studies and Civic Engagement at Chicago Public School. A great turnout of faculty from all the university members of the SLCEC especially from National-Louis University. Faculty members who are interested in joining this discussion this year are eligible for a $500 stipend. Below are pictures from the event:

SLCEC Civics Summit at NEIU 2-4-16 SLCEC Civics Summit at NEIU 2-4-16

SLCEC Civics Summit at NEIU 2-4-16 SLCEC Civics Summit at NEIU 2-4-16

SLCEC Civics Summit at NEIU 2-4-16 SLCEC Civics Summit at NEIU 2-4-16

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.







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