Service-Learning courses provide faculty with innovative teaching and learning strategies that bring greater relevancy to classroom instruction. Service-learning fulfills Western Washington University's mission by helping to develop "the potential of learners and the well-being of communities."
This is what Kate McLean, Psychology, had to say about her service-learning experiences:
"I have been including service-learning projects in my Adolescent Development curriculums since the summer of 2008. My students work with at-risk youth and are often presented with a variety of challenges when they start the program. It takes diligence and trust, both for the students and the youth, to create a relationship and get a dialogue going between them. It has been rewarding for me to witness the dynamic interaction that eventually occurs, and watch the barriers that are created by preconceived notions break down throughout the course of a class. I've found that in the end, they all discover that they aren't so different from one another after all.
I have worked with community partners at the Community Justice Center, Sterling Meadows, Sea Mar Visions, and Northwest Youth Services. My students become very engaged when working with these youth, and often go above and beyond the call of duty when participating in a service-learning project--taking kids to basketball games and participating in other extra-curricular activities with them. Many of my students also end up volunteering for the community partners they work with once the course is over.
Service-learning offers students experiences that are gratifying, and that better prepare them for life after college."