Developing a Syllabus

Syllabus development is one of the most critical and difficult aspects of successfully implementing an academic service-learning course. Below is a suggested list of questions that should be considered when developing a service-learning syllabus.

Questions to consider when developing an academic service-learning syllabus:

  • Have I sufficiently clarified mutual objectives with community partners
  • Have I connected service components with the course objectives?
  • Clearly stated expectations for students
  • How should I encourage students to respectfully engage with community partners, appreciating the learning opportunity that exists in the relationship?
  • How can I incorporate writing into students' grades to ensure adequate time commitment?
Exemplary academic service-learning syllabi should:
  • Clearly state expectations of students
  • Include service as an expressed goal
  • Clearly define how the service experience will be measured and what will be measured
  • Describe the nature of the service placement and/or project
  • Specify how students will be expected to demonstrate what they have learned in the placement/project (journal, papers, and presentations).
  • Present course assignments that link the service placement and the course content
  • Include a description of the reflective process
Resources for constructing a strong service-learning syllabus

In addition to these resources, the Center for Civic Engagement maintains numerous examples of Binghamton University academic service-learning syllabi.

Last Updated: 7/31/15