Service-Learning is an active method of learning in which students engage in structured community service and reflect on the meaning of that service. There are numerous service-learning opportunities and events at IU East, often associated with an academic course but always dedicated to helping you develop your spirit of service. See the Service-Learning resource guide for reporting S-L data, suggested readings, upcoming plans, and programming ideas. Contact the Center for Service-Learning at for more information.


Here are some terms associated with service-learning:


A structured experience, typically associated with an academic course, in which students:

  • work collaboratively with community partners to define the service
  • engage in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs
  • reflect on the service activity in order to demonstrate successful accomplishment of identified learning objectives, an enhanced understanding of the community, and a strengthened sense of civic responsibility and philanthropy (this is the key difference between service learning and volunteerism)

Institutional partnerships

Ongoing, formalized relationships in which the university provides services or resources in exchange for benefits the community partner can provide.

Professional service

The application of a faculty or staff member's professional knowledge, skills, and expertise as an educator in order to benefit the community in a manner consistent with the missions of the university and the campus.


Voluntary service in the community where the primary emphasis is on the service itself. The service can be an ongoing commitment or a short-term project.