Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Service-Learning: Experiential Learning with a Social Justice Emphasis

As a living-learning initiative, service-learning offers faculty the opportunity to engage student learning beyond the classroom by employing service in the community as a learning resource within a course. The central idea with service-learning is that students are testing the concepts of their courses (e.g. in the humanities) or practicing the skills of a course (e.g. languages or sciences) through experience in the community. This experience is in service to an underrepresented or marginalized group. Thus, service-learning ought to benefit both the student who learns course materials through additional methods, exposure and experience, and the community agency where the student volunteers his/her time. Aligned with Fordham's mission as a Jesuit university, service-learning aims to form students in a “well-educated solidarity” (Jesuit Conference 2002, “Communal Reflection on the Jesuit Mission in Higher Education”) and to provide an opportunity to apply academic resources to the work of social justice.

Service Learning happens at Fordham in two forms:
-Interdisciplinary Seminar - individual students enrolled in traditional courses join other students involved in service for a series of justice-related investigations.
-Integrated Service-Learning Course -
all students enrolled in the class are involved in service, and work in the community is employed as a learning resource alongside the traditional resources of text, lecture and discussion.

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