Service-learning is a form of experiential education that incorporates community service. The International Partnership for Service Learning offers an introduction to the idea of service learning, explaining that “service-learning responds to the student’s desire to be in the world, learning from experience as well as classes, and to put their education to use for the good of others.”
Prior to graduation, the Fort Peck Community College requires each student to complete a 60 hour (30 hours for certificate programs) approved service-learning experience. The student develops the experience with the relevant course instructor, and the FPCC Service-Learning Coordinator. The non-credit service-learning hours do not count towards the total credit hours needed for graduation.
The National Center for Service-Learning expands the definition of service-learning with three key characteristics:
- Focus service–learning activities on meeting human needs in the local communities to assure the well-being of the individuals or the environment in which they live.
- Identify key academic and/or civic objectives prior to the activity that combines service with learning.
- Design the service-learning experience with opportunities for the student to reflect on and connect their experience to specific academic/civic objectives
Service-learning connects explicitly to academic coursework
Emphasizing goals of civic responsibility and community engagement, service-learning involves students in community activities that complement classroom studies. Every service-learning experience is unique, but helps increase and improve the student’s academic skills by applying classroom knowledge in the community. Service learning helps the student develop interest in the community and learn how to improve the quality of life in the community. FPCC defines service-learning by three main characteristics:
- The experience meets a community need.
- The experience incorporates reflection and academic learning.
- The experience contributes to the student’s interest in and understanding of community life while promoting altruistic behavioral development.
Service Learning Procedures
Each course that offers a service-learning component requires 15 hours of work placement (an average of 1hr. per week) and the assigned writing. The process will begin at new-student registration where the student will complete a registration packet in consultation with your advisor and respective faculty members.
In the event that a student cannot enter and/or complete a service-learning experience attached to a regular course, a “General Service-Learning Experience” will be available in conjunction with the office of the Service-learning Coordinator.
For more information contact Richard DeCelles, Service Learning Coordinator at (406) 768-6300.