Schulz Information Center

“We see service-learning as an opportunity to expose our psychology majors to this connection between content and application many times throughout their coursework.”
—Randall E. Osborne, Kenneth Weadick, and James Penticuff

SSU faculty member

Service-Learning in Psychology

Thank you for your interest in service-learning in Psychology. The CCE can help you create or deepen your service-learning class. We provide models of other courses, sample syllabi, resources for course construction, reflective analysis tools, and risk management support.

Service-learning activity usually falls into two categories:

TYPE 1) Teaching/tutoring/sharing knowledge from the class
Example: Students at Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut, participated in a service-learning project at a camp for juvenile offenders. “Drawing on theater and psychology exercises from class, the students had the residents participate in trust exercises, movement games, a status workshop and a variety of role plays.” The residents found the meetings to be a “welcome break from the routine of the camp and as a chance to experience fellow residents in a more cooperative light.” “Students expressed great enthusiasm about their service-learning experiences and saw them as a platform on which to build more extensive efforts in anti-prejudice and teaching-tolerance activities.” 1

TYPE 2) Using information in the class to do something with/for a community organization.
Example: Students at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, took part in an action research project as part of one of their psychology classes. In collaboration with an ungraded K-3 school, they “observ(ed) eight particular children with family, behavioral, academic, and self-esteem problems…” They offered “insight into the effectiveness of the curriculum in raising these children’s self-esteem and perhaps reducing some of their behavioral and academic problems.” The university students also observed and interviewed the teachers. Students “appreciated the direct experience they got with complex community problems and the sense that they possessed or could acquire specific skills that would help solve the problem.” K-3 teachers remarked that “without the students’ help, they would never have discovered that some of their classroom practices were counterproductive.” 2

Please contact us for more information.

Elisa Velasquez Andrade, Lorna Catford, Maria Hess, Jessica Hobson and Geri Olson have instructed several service-learning classes and may be willing and able to share advice.

1 Carlebach, S., Singer, J. “Applying Service-Learning to the Problem of Prejudice.” With Service in Mind: Concepts and Models for Service-learning in Psychology Eds. Robert G. Bringle and Donna K. Duffy. Sterling: Stylus, 2006. 190-199. Print.

2 Nigro, G., Wortham, S. “Service-Learning Through Action-Research Partnerships.” With Service in Mind: Concepts and Models for Service-learning in Psychology Eds. Robert G. Bringle and Donna K. Duffy. Sterling: Stylus, 2006. 161-169. Print.