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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
  • Lauren Heidbrink, CPSA
  • Antonina Lukenchuk, NCE
  • Mary Kelly, CPSA
  • Tiffeny Jimenez, CPSA
  • Todd Price, NCE
  • Kate Zilla, NCE
  • Steve Zemelman, NCE
  • Marcel Herrera, AmeriCorps VISTA
  • Tamarah Drake, CEC Assistant
  • Tiara Williams, CEC Assistant


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. Photos displayed on website were taken by Kristine Becker-Kristufek, Civic Engagement Center Coordinator & AmeriCorps VISTA for ILCC at NLU's CEC.

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 Faculty Professional Learning Session Series for 2016-17

Check out the highlights from SLCEC Faculty PD Learning Sessions 2015/2016.

Beginning Session: Introduction to Service-Learning
Friday, October 7, 2016 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 2016-17 academic year.  Our final session will take place on May 2017, 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 session.   


Illinois Campus Compact (ILCC)

NLU is a member of Illinois Campus Compact, which is a coalition of 40 Illinois colleges and universities under the Campus Compact umbrella. ILCC supports not only the civic development of students, but the campus as an active and engaged member of its community. Campus Compact is a national organization with representation in 32 states that supports service-learning in higher education. 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 for Faculty


  • Faculty Toolkit for Service-Learning in Higher Education

    • 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.                                                                            
    • List of syllabi with service-learning inclusion by discipline from Campus Compact                                                                             
    • Campus Compact Toolkit: This Toolkit has four purposes: (1) To add clarity to the meaning and conceptualization of community-engaged scholarship in a research university context; (2) To provide a rationale for why to do it and resources on how to do it well; (3) To provide tools and assistance for faculty at research universities to document engaged scholarship for reward and promotion (i.e., how to get credit for it); and (4) To provide tools and assistance for enabling the assessment of engaged scholarship (i.e., for faculty reward and promotion).
  • Chicagoland Community Partnerships: A listing of community-based organizations arranged by interest/subject category.

  • Student Perspectives About Civic Engagement (SPACE), an online student journal that promotes student service-learning and civic engagement experiences in metropolitan Chicago. SPACE invites instructors to nominate exemplary student papers for this journal. Our goal is to publish scholarly and reflective writing that enlightens service-learning and civic engagement practitioners and scholars about student experiences that extend beyond the classroom and into communities. 

  • Prairie State Service-Learning Leader schools in the Chicago area are leading the way in civic engagement at primary and secondary schools. It is with the help of these schools that we foster civic engagement for the future generation.

  • Service-Learning LibGuide - A listing of Service-learning books and other resources are now available for faculty use. These resources are housed in the five Chicago-area campus libraries. NLU faculty may check them out as two-week reserve items.

Research, Assessment, and Evaluation



    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
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    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.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    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
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    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
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    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
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
    Info » | Directions »