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.
There are opportunities in local schools, child care centers, hospitals, and community-based and faith-based organizations for students to both learn and serve through this hands-on approach. The core concept driving this educational strategy is that combining service objectives and learning objectives results in a radically effective transformative method of teaching students. Find out more from organizations like the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse.
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.
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 Student Programs and Resources (SPAR) Office 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 SPAR 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 SPAR office as different coordinators along with Americorps VISTAs increased student, faculty and community partner participation. The highest honor came in 2008 when Brookhaven College was recognized as a member of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and was one of six colleges and universities across the United States to be awarded the Presidential Award, which is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to community service.
Civic engagement has been a part of the culture at Brookhaven College for many years. The All-College Service Committee has coordinated projects for students and employees at the North Texas Food Bank and in the community. To commemorate Brookhaven College’s 30th anniversary, the campus created opportunities for the campus community to participate in a “30 Days of Service” project in April 2008. College employees participate annually in “Grilling for Greenbacks” to contribute to the employee assistance fund as well as take part in the district wide day of service each spring.
Contact Andrew Deibert in the Office of Student Life in the Building S, Room S201 to find out more.
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