Our mission is to offer students and employees opportunities to engage in experiences that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities for critical reflection designed to promote learning and development.
We accomplish this by:
- Assisting faculty in the creation of meaningful academically linked service-learning and reflection opportunities.
- Creating civic engagement projects where participants are able to think critically about community issues, collaborate in the problem-solving process and affect change through volunteering.
- Establishing capacity-building relationships with community organizations.
What is Service-Learning?
Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful service with academic study and reflection to enrich the learning experience, build civic responsibility and strengthen communities. Students apply their academic skills and knowledge to address real-life needs in their own communities.
Prior to 1988, service-learning (known as "Praxis") was managed by campus ministers associated with an outside entity, the Greater Dallas Community of Churches. After the Greater Dallas Community of Service discontinued their support of the program the Office of Student Life (OSL) used a three year grant to create the first volunteer center in the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD).
During the early years of the Student’s Reaching Out Volunteer Center the focus was on creating opportunities for students to be involved in service to the community. Budget cuts eliminated the position of Volunteer Center coordinator in the mid-90s, though other OSL staff continued to manage student volunteer opportunities.
The district office of DCCCD realized the importance of service-learning and civic engagement and in turn designated a position to help guide the colleges within DCCCD. Eventually the Volunteer Center position was added again at Brookhaven College in 2000. Shortly after it was added the coordinator for the Volunteer Center became involved in the creation and organization of the Texas chapter of Campus Compact.
The Office of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement has continued to grow within the OSL as different coordinators along with Americorps VISTAs increased student, faculty and community partner participation. The highest honor the department has received came in 2008 when Brookhaven College was recognized as a member of the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Brookhaven was one of six colleges and universities across the United States to be named a Presidential Awardee. The Presidential Award is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its committment to community service. Since its inception in 2006, Brookhaven College has been a consistent fixture on the Honor Roll showcasing its committment to exemplary community service.
Contact the Office of Student Life in Bldg. S, Room S201 to find out more.