Service Learning

Background:A CSU audit of off-campus activities in 2009-10 requires SJSU to improve its risk management procedures in the administration of Service Learning (SL). Specifically, we are required to “monitor academic department compliance with SL policies, procedures, and best practices”.

Definition: All SJSU designated Service-Learning (SL) courses must incorporate a minimum of ten hours of community-based service and/or research over an extended period of time throughout the term. Service-learning must be integrated with course learning; therefore, students must produce one or more structured reflections (e.g., in discussion, journals, papers, public presentations) that demonstrate integration of the service experience with course learning outcomes. Students must complete a CSU-SJSU Learning Plan & Participation Guide, serve only with an SJSU approved community partner organization; and enter all required SL information in the SJS4-Spartans 4 Service database.

Responsibility: Undergraduate Studies (UGS) is responsible for the integrity of the academic programs and will work in cooperation with the colleges and departments to ensure campus compliance. Within the Office of Undergraduate Studies the Center for Community Learning & Leadership (CCLL) will have direct responsibility for implementation. Deans have responsibility to ensure that faculty members in their colleges using SL pedagogy comply with the procedures assuring best practices in SL and with all campus risk management policies.

Best Practices: SJSU follows the “Best Practices for Managing Risk in Service Learning” provided by the CSU Office of Community Service (2002). These can be found at:


No course (or section) should be tagged with the CSLI Attribute unless it has completed this Service Learning designation approval process.

Request Service-Learning Designation

In addition to a Minor Curriculum Change Form (Or new course proposal) and the accessible syllabus (please see language that must be included under SL Faculty), please attach a memo briefly addressing each of the following questions (3-page maximum):

    1. How will the course introduce students to the principles of service-learning?

    2. What service assignment(s) will students be expected to complete? (Identify activities and/or work products expected.)

    3. What community need(s) will the service address?

    4. What course objective(s) will the service address?

    5. What is the minimum number of hours that students will be expected to serve? (10 hours is the minimum for service-learning designation)

    6. Who are the potential community partner(s). If not known, describe the criteria to be used to select partners. If no community organizations will be directly involved, describe how students will work with community members.

    7. How will students be prepared for their service activities?

    8. What activities will students be required to complete in order to integrate the learning derived from their service and subject matter outcomes?

    9. How will student learning from service be evaluated?

Courses that receive designation as service learning courses will be assigned course numbers with an SL designation (e.g., COMM157-SL). Service learning courses will also need to be included in the SJS4- Spartans for Community Engagement service database system


The Department Chair has the responsibility to inform department faculty, ideally at the first department meeting of the academic year, that faculty members who employ SL in their courses must complete and submit the required SL forms to the Department Chair by the end of the third week of the semester. The Department Chair will forward the required forms to CCLL.

Forms required are:

  • Student Service Learning Plan (for each student)
  • Faculty/Campus Record of Service-Learning Placement Sites (attached), and
  • Service Learning Agreement with all Community-based Organizations (CBO) participating that semester (if the CBO is not already on the approved site list)

All forms are available at

SL Faculty

SL faculty will need to take part in the SJS4 Spartans for Service database. The SJS4 systems assists with the placement of students in service sites and also assists the university in reporting to the CSU on community service activities.

SL Faculty will also need to include specific language related to learning outcomes on their greensheets for the course. Please see our Service Learning Greensheet Language, for statements that must be included.

SL faculty shall require their students to complete a Student Service Learning Plan by the end of the third week of the semester. This form is available on the CCLL website at: These forms are to be retained by the faculty member for risk management purposes. Forms should be retained with the grade book for one year.

SL faculty shall complete a Faculty/Campus Record of Service-Learning Placement Sites listing basic course information and placement sites used for the course in that semester. This Placement Sites form should be sent, via department offices, to CCLL by the end of the third week of the semester. (Departments should maintain a copy for the semester so they know where their students are in case of emergency.)

SL faculty should only place SL students with CCLL-recognized community partner organizations which meet pedagogical and risk management standards. Approved community partners are listed on the CCLL website. Approved sites have a current Service Learning Agreement on file with CCLL (found at:

If SL faculty wish to place SL students at sites not on the current approved list, you must contact CCLL to have the site approved. The CSU requires SJSU to assess sites for pedagogical and risk management practices and to secure a Service Learning Agreement with all Community-based Organizations (CBO). CCLL determine the sites status and will assist in obtaining a Service Learning Agreement with the agency.

CCLL staff is available to assist in the service-learning process. Information and forms are available on the SJSU-CCLL website (http://

Compliance Monitoring:

Undergraduate Studies has responsibility for ensuring that all SJSU academic programs comply with CSU policies. Deans oversee compliance of programs in their colleges. The Center for Community Learning and Leadership will request copies of all new Service Learning placements at the start of each semester. They will monitor compliance with SL policy and report discrepancies at the UGS program reports meeting at the start of each semester. CCLL will maintain a check list of compliance issues and follow up any instances of non-compliance.

Please refer questions to the Center for Community Learning and Leadership at 4-3540.

PDF version of the policy

SJS4, Approved Learning Sites and University Organization Agreements (UOAs)

As of Fall 2016, all off-campus activities outlined in S16-14 must complete a University Organization agreement with off-campus learning sites in order for students to serve or intern at that location. Already approved locations are available at, and information on how to propose and initiate a UOA for a new site are outlined at SJS4 How to Propose a Learning Site.