Nevada Grows Service-Learning in Higher Education

“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,” according to the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse. Service-learning meets real community needs by incorporating components like integrated learning, collaboration, reflection, high quality service, student voice, civic responsibility, and evaluation of partnerships and projects.

Nevada has made great strides in incorporating service-learning in our University of Nevada system, both north and south. With Nevada Volunteers support, UNR joined Campus Compact, an organization made of almost 1,200 college and university presidents committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. This membership inspired a group of dedicated UNR faculty to set up regular meetings to share best practices in service-learning and civic engagement.

In the south, UNLV was recognized for its outstanding service in 2012 by gaining a spot on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll from the Corporation for National and Community Service. UNLV also holds regular faculty gatherings to strengthen and support service-learning. The Office of Civic Engagement and Diversity facilitates community partnerships and coordinates campus-wide service projects like Make a Difference Day.

During the past five years, Nevada Volunteers has made excellent use of our AmeriCorps*VISTA grant by assigning members on both campuses. These members have been instrumental in creating a sustainable and growing program for service-learning and civic engagement on Nevada’s college campuses.

During National Volunteer Week 2012, both UNLV and UNR held Service-Learning Mini Conferences for faculty and community agencies to join together to discuss how to incorporate service-learning within the campus curriculum, the balance between service and academic work, and the ability to use community partners as co-educators. Nevada Volunteers is excited to see the growth of service-learning throughout Nevada continue!

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