What is Service Learning?
Oglethorpe has a co-curricular program for individual and group volunteer opportunities, but service-learning is distinguished as a type of experiential learning that integrates academic learning with community involvement. Service-learning is a way of accomplishing a rigorous academic curriculum in combination with serving real community needs. These are courses which have volunteer work integrated as part of the course itself. Thus the service is closely related to the content of the course. Service Learning Courses require a minimum of 25 hours of course related community service.
Service learning courses are usually 4-credit courses, in which the service itself takes the role of a text or assignment but is not itself graded. Outcomes of the service will be graded, however, perhaps in the form of a research project, reflective journal, and/or report/presentation that speaks to the work and needs of the community organization.
Service-learning is not just about the students involved, however. It is a reciprocal relationship of respect and communication in which both sides – students and community partners – work together to advance their common and individual goals.
Why should I take a service-learning course?
- Help organizations that are serving a community need
- Hone academic skills while helping solve real community problems
- Serve your community while earning academic credit
- Gain work and leadership experience possibly translatable to employment before and after graduation
Service-Learning courses at Oglethorpe
Past service learning courses have included:
Cancer Cell Biology
Foundations of American Education
General Biology II
Introduction to Education
The Nonprofit Sector
Special Topics in History: Judaism: Foundations and Mysticism
Special Topics in History: Russia’s Social Crisis (OUSA Travel Abroad)
Special Topics in Language, Literature and Culture: French and Spanish Crossroads
Special Topics in Politics: Atlanta Mini-mester in Politics, Leadership, and Community Service
Special Topics in Theatre: Community Theatre
Service Learning Contacts
Service learning courses are collaboratively planned by A_LAB staff and Oglethorpe faculty.
A_LAB Civic Engagement contact: Tamara Nash, Director of the Civic Engagement
Oglethorpe faculty contact: Karen Schmeichel, Associate Professor of Biology
Students in Oglethorpe’s service learning classes have volunteered their time to benefit these and other Atlanta non-profit organizations:
Blue Heron Nature Preserve
Books for Africa
Capitol View Elementary School
Clarkston Community Center
Drew Charter School
Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless
International Rescue Committee
Latin American Association
Orphanages in Moscow, Russia
Refugee Family Service
St. Vincent de Paul Atlanta
Project Take Charge of Decatur Cooperative Ministry
Community Health Charities of GA
Church on the Street
Atlanta Mayor’s Office
Oglethorpe Presbyterian Church
McCleskey-East Cobb YMCA
Communities in Schools of Atlanta
Hands On Atlanta – AmeriCorps Schools
Atlanta Contemporary Art Center
Piedmont Park Conservancy
American Lung Association