Models

While different language and models of S-L may be used at each university and within K-12 settings or programs, courses at NU apply S-L in one of the following ways:

Direct Service-Learning
Students will serve directly on-site each week of the semester, either working with clients or alongside staff for approximately 2-5 hours/week with a community-based organization.  Student experiences and courses range from introductory to advanced levels.

NU Examples:  

  • Education in the Community with Polly Attwood: NU students tutor and mentor youth at afterschool programs in community-based settings.
  • Human Services Professions with Lori Gardinier: NU students serve as client managers and connect community members to employment and housing resources.
  • Psychosocial Aspects of Healthcare Seminar with Ann Golub-Victor: NU students facilitated exercise classes to help seniors maintain their mobility.
  • Engineering Design with Sue Freeman: NU students teach youth how to build robots to reinforce their understanding of the design process.

Project-Based Service-Learning or Community-Based Research (CBR)
Students (in teams) serve with the community partner much as "consultants" working for a "client" to understand and address a particular community issue or need, or answer specific research questions (generated by the community partner).  Students in these courses often conduct their work on the project off-site using their University resources. Typically these students are in more advanced courses within their discipline and have knowledge that they can draw upon to conduct research, make recommendations or develop solutions to the challenges identified by the community partner.  The final product of their service is often used by the community partner to more effectively advocate for themselves, apply for new funding, and/or broaden their knowledge of an issue in their field. 

NU Examples:

  • Consultations Skills with Elise Dallimore: NU students developed a communication strategy to attract and retain a more diverse staff in the higher leveles of management for a nonprofit organization addressing homelessness.
  • Strategic Philanthropy & Nonprofit Management with Rebecca Riccio: NU students provide capacity building funding of approximately $10,000 for organizations with effective proposals to address the target issues for each Northeastern Students4Giving grant cycle.
  • Advocacy Workshop with Greg Goodale: NU students write legislation and coordinate an advocacy campaign, including a demonstration at the State House, to expand the funding and rights for youth in the foster care system.
  • Advanced Writing in the Business Administration Professions with Tanya Zhelezcheva: NU students researched how a local organization can use social media to engage and retain their alumns and donors.

Hybrid Models
In some cases, students may take on a hybrid role with a community partner requiring them to engage in direct service with clients before or simultaneously while the students invest in working on the specific project/ research. This model is facilitated on a case by case basis.

NU Examples:

  • Inquiries in Cell and Molecular Biology with Gail Begley: NU students create and teach youth through an interactive biology curriculum to excite and educate them about how they interact with biology in their daily lives
  • Advanced Spanish 1 & 2 with Marcial Flores and Maria Brucato: NU students translate permission slips and bulletin boards for parents in a K-12 parent resources center.
  • Introduction to Nutrition with Judy Richman: NU students developed and implemented a curriculum for youth about nutrition and healthy eating and lifestyle habits.
  • Intercultural Studies through Human Services with Lori Gardinier

Adapted from Heffernan, Kerrissa. (2001). Fundamentals of Service-Learning Course Construction. RI: Campus Compact.