What is Service-Learning?

A course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students

  1. participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs
  2. reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.

Bringle & Hatcher, 1995

To learn about student, faculty, and community member perspective on service-learning, visit our Project Examples page.

Programs and Services

The Center for Service-Learning offers services that facilitate meaningful partnerships and that meet the common goals of the WWU, local, regional and international communities. Service-learning pedagogy can be applied to any discipline and our faculty and student participants represent all eight colleges of the university. Our programs and services include:


The Center for Service-Learning upholds four core values that promote the mission and strategic goals of Western Washington University:

We facilitate collaborative relationships between students, faculty, and community partner organizations that share resources, work toward mutually beneficial goals, and value each other's contributions.

Social Responsibility
We introduce Western students to ideas of justice, diversity and citizenship in local and international settings through academic and extra-curricular service activities. By engaging with community stakeholders, students gain a broader perspective of their role in the social, intellectual and human world.

We cultivate reflective practices that encourage students to think critically about their experiences and that lead to academic, professional and personal growth. Through examining their experiences, students gain an awareness of their own values, skills, qualities and commitment to social responsibility and life-long learning.

We advance the integration of academic learning in a community context, which includes service and reflection. Students apply academic theory in the community classroom, think strategically about complex problems, translate thought into action, and develop effective workforce skills for a diverse society.

Page Updated 08.10.2015