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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Service-Learning?

    Service-Learning at Clemson is faculty driven and is used in the classroom to reinforce learning objectives through community engagement. The following definition has been approved by the Academic Council:

    Service-Learning at Clemson University is experiential education in which community service experiences complement academic course material. It allows both instructors and students to apply their acquired knowledge and skills in a public setting by performing tasks with or for a community or a specific public organization. These tasks include but are not limited to identifying and analyzing real community needs and developing and implementing solutions to meet those needs. The process is accompanied by reflection activities over the course of the class or project.

  • How do I insure students for service-learning activities?

    Insurance for course related service-learning activities is paid from a central Clemson account, however, faculty must inform the Risk Management Office about their activity and complete the form at  

  • How widespread is the use of service-learning in college classrooms?

    Campus Compact conducts a yearly survey of member institutions on community based civic engagement activities occurring on college campuses across the nation at its member campuses.  For complete survey information go to:

    Clemson numbers for 2015 -16:

    1,608 students were reported by OIR as participating in service-learning courses offered through academic departments or through Creative Inquiry. Of this 1,608 students participating in service-learning courses, 1,517 were undergraduate students. Of the 1,517 student, 446 undergraduates participated in undergraduate Creative Inquiry - Service-Learning experiences.

    Number of unique courses:

    38 Service-Learning courses offered within majors

    30 Creative Inquiry Service-Learning experiences

    13 students participated in international service-learning experiences through the ISA- ELAP program offered through the Study Abroad office.

    Faculty Participation:

    87 faculty reported teaching a service-learning course.  55% of the faculty utilizing service-learning were tenure or tenure-track faculty.

    43 faculty reported teaching at least one service-learning course as course offering in an academic department.

    The number of faculty using service-learning in a CI experience: 44

  • Who benefits from service-learning?

    Service-learning is mutually beneficial to both the participating students and the community. Students not only gain opportunities to practice skills, but also to test, refine and generate theory through systematic reflection. The community benefits when students are engaged in service activities that meet real community needs. Faculty benefit by having an opportunity to integrate teaching, research and service. In fact, many Clemson faculty have developed service-learning across many areas of the curriculum, affording students who desire to be engaged citizens and public stewards the opportunity to serve as they learn their chosen field of study. Clemson faculty are often recognized for their work in service-learning and civic engagement.

  • How does service-learning affect student learning?

    In the report “How Service-Learning Affects Students” (Astin, A.W., Vogelgesang, L.J., Ikeda, E.K., and Yee, J.A., Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA, 2000), researchers sought to determine the effects of service-learning and community service on college undergraduates and how learning was impacted by the service experience. Longitudinal data was collected from 22,236 college undergraduates attending a national sample of colleges and universities.

    Principal findings from the report:

    • Significant positive impact on academic performance (e.g. GPA, writing skills, critical thinking skills); values (commitment to activism and promoting racial understanding); career choice in the public sector and plans to participate in service after college. The impact of service-learning courses was strongest for academic performance, particularly writing skills.
    • Four out of five students participating in service-learning courses stated they were learning from their service-learning activity and felt they were making a difference in the community.
    • Qualitative findings from the study found that both faculty and students participating in service-learning courses felt they had developed an increased awareness of civic responsibility.
    • Student interest in the field of study or subject matter was the single most important factor connected with a positive experience in a service-learning course. Interest in the subject matter was particularly relevant as it related to how the service experience improved the student's understanding of the academic course material.


  • How can I as a faculty member find time for service-learning with the demands to do research?

    Service-learning activities can benefit your research initiatives as well as local communities and your students. It usually begins by finding a match between your interests, a community need and course content. Students can assist with needs assessment or data collection as part of a service-learning project. By including students in the process, you offer them the opportunity to learn about research procedures. Clemson Nursing Professor Roxanne Amerson involved her Nursing 415 students in an international service-learning project working with a local village in Guatemala and has published a number of scholarly articles on the project and has also received research funding from NIH to assist with the project. Dr. Amerson is just one example of a Clemson faculty member who is integrating teaching, research,and service to effectively engage her students and promote her professional career as a faculty member.

  • How can I learn more about service-learning at Clemson?

    Clemson has a collection of webcasts featuring Service-Learning Faculty Fellows that can be found on this website at Archived Webcasts.