Publication Date

January 2017


Service-learning is a High Impact Practice (AAC&U, 2012; Gonyea, et al., 2008), and a beneficial learning strategy for college students from various backgrounds. In addition, service-learning is a way to engage students in their communities. This paper details the value of a service-learning assignment in an Introduction to Social Problems course. Included in the discussion is the application of L. Dee Fink’s Taxonomy of Significant Learning (Fink, 2003). There are many benefits of incorporating service-learning into an introductory level course. Some benefits include improved student engagement, enhanced socialization, citizenship and self-esteem. These are important for students beginning their collegiate career. Also, this type of engagement may contribute to overall student retention. Some challenges include the time commitment of the students and faculty member; communication between the agency, student and faculty member; and safety. This paper provides detailed information on these and other benefits and challenges.