Service-learning occurs where, as part of their academic studies, a student engages in a project/programme that meets the needs of a community partner organisation and reflects on this learning experience in relation to the curricular learning objectives. The employment of service-learning as a pedagogy in University serves to enhance teaching and learning, to benefit the community and to provide students with an understanding of the social context of their academic disciplines and of the value of civic engagement. Service-learning also has real-world authenticity and accountability which increases the motivation of students
The use of service-learning pedagogies is in line with College's mission is to ‘engage students and society in the quest for knowledge, seeking to achieve excellence in all we do, and responding with creativity and imagination to the challenges and opportunities of a shared future.' Central to achieving this are the outreach activities which connect College with society and the community in mutually enriching ways. College is also committed to the intellectual and personal development of students, in particular, through encouraging civic engagement and maximising opportunities for learning outside the classroom. Action 3.5 of the Strategic Plan 2009-2014 states that, ‘Where it is not already the case, undergraduate programmes shall be designed to facilitate research-based, service and work-based learning.'
Resources from visiting scholars:
- Critical Reflection and Assessment (Dr. Patti Clayton 2010)
- Service-Learning Overview (Professor Rober Bringle 2009)
A listing useful academic and support materials, including project examples and principles of good practice are available on our resources page. Also take a look at some of the internal case studies of where service-learning is already being implemented.
Seed Funding for Course Development
Grants of up to €1,500 are available each year to support reciprocal partnerships between College and the community, encourage civic engagement among students, and enhance professional development of academic staff, as described in the College's Strategic Plan (2009-2014). The grants are competitively awarded to support members of academic staff to design a new course module or to revise an existing course to include a service-learning component. Applications for grants from the service-learning seed fund are currently closed.
Seven Service- Learning projects have been supported by grants since 2010:
- In the Academic Year 2011-2012, Junior Sophister Mechanical Engineering students took the 10ECTS pilot Service-Learning module Community Informed Universal Design for the Benefit of the Community. The students interviewed people in the local community and were advised on design considerations by specialist consumer group representatives from the National Standards Authority Ireland (NSAI) and NCBI – Working for People with Sight Loss. The module culminated in a competition held in Trinity College, where the students showcased their design solutions to the very community members who helped identify the design problems
- INTERFACE is an activity-based programme for the synergic coupling of 3rd level chemical researchers and 2nd level science students. PhD students bring additional scientific experiments into second level schools while learning science communication and tailoring their research presentations to specific audiences.
- "Moving Forward Together" is a collaborative service-learning project between a deaf advocacy group and the Centre for Deaf Studies whereby trainee interpreters will be placed in Deaforward and share the learning of that experience with community mentors and Deaf clients to build a reciprocal understanding of Deaf and interpreter perspectives.
- The Study of Occupation Practice is a module in which Senior Sophister students of Occupational Therapy facilitate the occupational engagement and performance of persons with disabilities or of social disadvantage in community settings. Download the Study of Occupation Practice SOOP Service-Learning Project Brief (DOC 632KB).
- "CONNECTing in the Community" is a conversation partner scheme between Junior Freshman students of Clinical Speech and Language Studies and people with aphasia in the community. CONNECTing in the Community Project Brief (DOC 152 KB).
- A new 10ECTS service-learning module for students undertaking the undergraduate level course'Semester in Northern Ireland for Visiting Undergraduates' in the Irish School of Ecumenics in Belfast
- The introduction of service-learning research projects into undergraduate Social Entrepreneurship classes which students will undertake further to identifying and build ing a relationship with a social entrepreneurs in Ireland.
In November 2010, US scholar Dr. Patti Clayton facilitated an open workshop entitled "Critical Reflection - Generating, Deepening and Documenting Student Learning". You can download her materials below.
- Critical Reflection Pack (PDF 820KB)
- Civic Learning (Battistoni and others) (DOC 44KB)
- Community Partnerships and Reciprocity (DOC 164 KB)
Dr. Clayton sits on the Board of Directors of the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement and has previously served as a Faculty Fellow with National Campus Compact's Project on Integrating Service with Academic Study. Dr. Clayton co-developed with students and faculty a leading critical reflection and assessment model (the DEAL Model for Critical Reflection), models for student leadership in service-learning, and a variety of faculty development and curriculum development processes.
In 2009 renowned service-learning expert, Professor Robert Bringle visited Trinity to share his expertise and experience with members of academic staff. Professor Bringle is the Executive Director of IUPUI's (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis) Center for Service and Learning. Each year since 2002, the IUPUI service learning program has been ranked among the best programs in the United States. IUPUI received a Presidential Awardas part of the first President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2006. Download Professor Bringle's Presentation.