Service-Learning

As a living-learning initiative, service-learning offers students an opportunity to expand their academic experience by bringing together service in the community with the learning resources of 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 aims to create mutually beneficial relationships for 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.

Fordham’s Service-Learning Program is housed within the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice (DDCSJ) and works in collaboration with faculty members across the disciplines. All student placements in service organizations are arranged through the DDCSJ, where an affiliative network has already been established in the community. The DDCSJ aids students in finding a site appropriate to a particular course and establishing contact for volunteer placement.

Currently, Fordham has service-learning initiatives across the disciplines in two forms, including: Service-Learning Interdisciplinary Seminars and Integrated Service-Learning Courses.

Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice

For more information, visit the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice.

Service-Learning Interdisciplinary Seminar

Fordham College at Rose Hill, Fordham College at Lincoln Center, and Fordham School of Professional and Continuing Studies students are eligible to enroll in the Service-Learning Interdisciplinary Seminar. (Gabelli School of Business students connecting the seminar with an FCRH/FCLC course are also eligible.) The Service-Learning Interdisciplinary Seminar brings together community service, reflection, and course work. Students in the Interdisciplinary Seminar volunteer in the local community and connect this to the work of a course in which they are enrolled. The faculty member teaching this course serves as their service-learning mentor, while students across the disciplines come together at the Interdisciplinary Seminar sessions organized through the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice.

The requirements for the Service-Learning Interdisciplinary Seminar include 30 hours of community service, two integrative essays, interdisciplinary sessions with a curriculum of readings, and weekly reflection assignments. Through successful completion of the program, students earn an additional credit for the course in which they are enrolled. Students may receive only one extra course credit per semester and a total of three credits during their undergraduate career. Students receive credit for the learning that takes place through the integration of service and scholarship, not for the service itself.

To become a participant in the Interdisciplinary Seminar a student must

  1. Meet with the Associate Coordinator for Service-Learning to discuss the course and service agency with which you would like to partner (Service-Learning staff assists in each student’s placement at an agency).
  2. Obtain a service-learning agreement from the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice in McGinley 101 or Lowenstein SL 18A.
  3. Discuss connections between service and the course with instructor: get instructor’s approval and have the instructor sign the agreement. (E-mail a copy of the syllabus to Service-Learning Staff.)
  4. Discuss the agreement with the agency supervisor, who must also sign the agreement.
  5. Make a copy of the agreement for your own records and return the original to the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice by the deadline designated (usually in the first three weeks of the semester).

Integrated Service-Learning Courses

In this faculty-initiated form of service-learning, community-based experiences are employed as a learning resource alongside the traditional resources of readings, lectures, discussion, labs, etc. In this model, service is integrated into the syllabus and is thus required for all students enrolled in the course. Because the entire class participates in service-learning, the instructor is able to fully integrate the service component into the course material and classroom discussions. Generally, faculty members structure the course load so that service is balanced with reading and writing assignments

Sections of courses that integrate service as a learning resource will be listed in Banner under the attribute “Service Learning.” Through this notation, students can identify prior to registration those classes in which service hours in the community are required.

The list of courses below indicates some of the types of courses that have developed service-learning sections.

Possible service-learning courses have included the following:

CourseTitleCredits
ECON 3240WORLD POVERTY4
ENGL 3964HOMELESSNESS4
HIST 3940THE AFRICAN CITY4
PHIL 3000PHILOSOPHICAL ETHICS3
PSYC 2700INFANT AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT4
PSYC 2900ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY4
PSYC 4810CLINICAL CHILD PSYCHOLOGY5
PSYC 4830PRACTICUM IN PSYCHOLOGY5
THEO 1000FAITH AND CRITICAL REASON3
THEO 3120THE PROPHETS3
THEO 4030MORAL ASPECTS OF MEDICINE4
THEO 3861WORKS OF MERCY/WORK FOR JUSTICE4
SOCI 1100INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY3
SOCI 3256POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY IN FILM4
SOCI 4970COMMUNITY SERVICE/SOCIAL ACTION4
SPAN 2640SPANISH AND NEW YORK CITY4