Academic Service Learning is an education practice that takes learning into the community. A reciprocal relationship develops as students work with the community to identify a focus area and implement a project. Connecting classroom curriculum with community needs deepens students’ engagement in the community while enabling them to develop mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional capacities. Involvement engages students in critical thinking, community relationship building, practical action, leadership, and reflection useful in their professional life.

For Loma Linda University, being involved in our local and global community is a priority, our duty, our civic responsibility.

So LLU is making a bold statement this year: Earning a college degree from LLU means being academically prepared, culturally aware, and community engaged. Beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year, all degree programs (associate through doctoral) will provide at least one approved Service Learning course.

The vision is that students go back and forth in a cycle: applying what they learn in the classroom to a real need in the community, then using their experiences from service as a basis for further learning in the course, and back again, even into the student clinical environment, employment, and the student’s personal way of life.

Service Learning Definition

Service Learning is a structured learning experience that combines community engagement with academic preparation, reflection, and ongoing assessment (Loma Linda University Service-Learning Committee, 2014).

"At first I didn't want to volunteer for 10 hours due to the rigorous amounts of schoolwork. Now, I am so glad and thankful for such a life changing experience.”

Guiding Principles

The National Youth Leadership Council provides a multitude of principles that guide service-learning (2014). LLU has decided upon four of these principles to guide our service-learning practice:

  • Service Learning has sufficient duration and intensity, which allows the students to explore the community’s needs and meet specified outcomes.
  • Service Learning is intentionally used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals of the course and to enrich what is taking place in the classroom.
  • Service Learning partnerships are collaborative, mutually beneficial, and address community needs.
  • Service Learning incorporates multiple challenging reflection activities that are ongoing and that prompt deep thinking and analysis about oneself and one’s relationship to society.