St. Norbert College
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Resources for Staff Leading Service Events

Defining co-curricular service-learning
Service-learning is a multifaceted concept that embraces both curricular and co-curricular approaches to service and educational opportunities. The hyphen between the words "service" and "learning" strongly suggests a balance between learning goals and service outcomes that can be achieved only through an integration of each. The Council for the Advancement of Standard (CAS) in Higher Education defines service-learning as “a form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities intentionally designed to promote student learning and development.” While there are various definitions and interpretations of service-learning, this definition most accurately represents the concept in action at St. Norbert College.

Since St. Norbert College values a holistic approach to student development that encompasses both academic and co-curricular learning objectives, the Sturzl Center for Community Service & Learning (Sturzl Center) has consciously chosen to apply service-learning principles to both the curricular and co-curricular realms; therefore instituting a differentiation between Academic Service-Learning (ASL) and Co-Curricular Service-Learning (CoSL) . Academic Service-Learning at St. Norbert College is defined as “a pedagogical method that enhances the curriculum by integrating academic and civic learning with authentic community service.”

Best practices

Part 1: Mission

The primary mission of Service-Learning Programs (S-LP) is to engage students in experiences that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities for reflection intentionally designed to promote student learning and development.

Part 2: Program
The formal education of students consists of the curriculum and the co-curriculum, and must promote student learning and student development that is purposeful and holistic. Service-Learning Programs (S-LP) must be integrated into and enhance both the academic curriculum and co-curricular programs.  S-LP must identify relevant and desirable student learning and development outcomes and provide programs and services that encourage the achievement of those outcomes.

Service-Learning Programs must:             
•    allow all participants to define their needs and interests
•    engage students in responsible and purposeful actions to meet community-defined needs
•    enable students to understand needs in the context of community assets
•    articulate clear service and learning goals for everyone involved, including students, faculty and staff members, community agency personnel, and those being served
•    ensure intellectual rigor
•    establish criteria for selecting community service sites to ensure productive learning opportunities for everyone involved
•    educate students regarding the philosophy of service and learning, the particular community service site, the work they will do, and the people they will be serving in the community
•    establish and implement risk management procedures to protect students, the institution, and the community agencies
•    offer alternatives to ensure that students are not required to participate in service that violates a religious or moral belief
•    engage students in reflection designed to enable them to deepen their understanding of themselves, the community, and the complexity of social problems and potential solutions
•    educate students to differentiate between perpetuating dependence and building capacity within the community
•    establish mechanisms to assess service and learning outcomes for students and communities
•    provide on-going professional development and support to faculty and staff members

PARE model for service-learning
Although there are many opportunities for students to engage in community or service related activities, only a few have intentional learning components.  In order to provide consistent, comprehensive support to college members interested in developing better service-learning programs, we need to coordinate Co-Curricular Service-Learning programs, as part of the Sturzl Center. 

A model for creating a Co-curricular Service-Learning experience is the PARE model:
Preparation, Action, Reflection, and Evaluation.  All interested service programmers will find the support needed to develop co-curricular service-learning programs by following the model below, and if help is needed, contacting the Sturzl Center:


Step 1: Reflect and Gather Resources.  Review the purpose of SNC service and the definition of the Sturzl Center; consider how to best serve the community while getting the most learning from the program.
Step 2: Seek Training and Consultation. Attend training sessions offered to specific program coordinators (such as student organizations) as well as general training on topics such as cultural competency, poverty, and privilege.  Get consultation on event programming, leadership, and reflection.
Step 3: Explore Partnerships with Community. The Sturzl Center will collect information on community agencies and local needs to assist campus members in developing long-term partnerships.
Step 4: Develop, Design, and/or Redesign the Project.  The Sturzl Center will support the development of a co-curricular service projects connecting the leaders with needed resources.


Step 5: Run Project.

Reflection (visit the resources web page for reflection resources)
Step 6: Reflect

Step 7: Assess and Disseminate. The Center will coordinate campus-wide assessment and sharing of information.   The Sturzl Center supports service program evaluation and learning outcomes assessment.

The Sturzl Center for Community Service & Learning has many online and printed resources available for staff members interested in getting involved themselves or those interested in getting their groups involved.

Community Partners
Learn more about the community organizations who are institutional partners with St. Norbert College and the Sturzl Center for Community Service and Learning.

Sturzl Center Service-Learning Resource Library

Sturzl Center for Community Service & Learning

Phone: (920) 403-3374
Fax: (920) 403-4043

St. Norbert College • 100 Grant Street • De Pere, WI 54115-2099 • 920-337-3181