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Service Learning

What is Service-Learning?

Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities (Learn and Serve America National Service Learning Clearinghouse).

Service learning is a type of experiential learning which integrates community-based experiences and projects into a course's curriculum and allows students to apply their classroom knowledge while addressing real world community issues.

The mission of service learning at ODU is to educate, engage, and equip our campus community with skills and experiences that connect rigorous academic curriculum with meaningful and tangible civic engagement to strengthen our students and communities for a sustainable future.

Service-Learning Mini Grants

The Office of Leadership & Learning provides funding for the facilitation of service-learning courses. Instructors may request between $500 and $1,000 per course section for local, state-wide, or international service-learning support.

All Service-Learning Mini Grant funding for the 2023-2024 school year has been awarded. Please check back soon for the 2024-2025 school year! Please view the sample Request for Proposal to assist you in preparing your mini grant application.

Why Service-Learning?

Student Benefits

  • Supports academic learning
  • Critical thinking
  • Persistence/Retention
  • Civic outcomes
  • Employment
  • Collaboration

Faculty Benefits

  • Opens doors to diverse research opportunities
  • Integrates opportunities to explore community perspectives and issues
  • Broaden teaching approach and strategies

Community Benefits

  • Helps organizations meet needs
  • Capacity building by utilizing multiple sources of knowledge
  • Involvement in preparing the upcoming generation of civically engaged professionals

Examples of Service-Learning

Support from the Office of Leadership & Learning

The Office of Leadership & Learning supports faculty members looking to explore or implement service-learning in their courses.

We provide one-on-one consultations with faculty members, assistance in identifying community partners and viable projects, syllabi reviews and course development assistance, class presentations about service-learning, and financial support through the Service-Learning Instructional Mini-Grant.

The Service-Learning Instructional Mini-Grant provides between $500 and $1000 per course section for local, state-wide, or international service-learning projects. ODU faculty members and instructors of all career tracks (full- and part-time), staff, or teaching graduate students are eligible to apply.

Service-Learning Instructional Mini-Grants are reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis as funding is available, with a priority deadline in late July/early August for the upcoming academic year.

Faculty who receive funding via the Service Learning Mini Grants program receive a LeADERS "S" or Service-Learning designation for their course.

Resources for Faculty

In addition to support from the Assistant Director for Service-Learning, there are numerous resources and professional organizations for faculty who are engaged in service-learning, or who are exploring the possibilities!

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