Community Service Learning (CSL)
What is Community Service Learning?
Community Service Learning (CSL) is an educational approach that integrates service in the community with intentional learning activities. Within effective CSL efforts, members of both educational institutions and community organizations work together toward outcomes that are mutually beneficial.
~ Canadian Alliance for Community Service-Learning
Community Service Learning @ Western aims to connect classroom with community in a way that is mutually beneficial to all participants:students, faculty, and community partners. We believe the community can contribute in multiple and meaningful ways to student learning objectives. In addition, Western students can contribute knowledge and skills toward developing sustainable solutions for community-identified needs. At Western, we provide a variety of experiential learning opportunities that give students important opportunities for practical application of classroom learning. CSL courses offer additional benefits to students such as increased sense of civic engagement and the chance for their academic work to make a positive impact in local and global communities.
Service learning is a transformative element of the educational experience at Western that helps shape today’s students into tomorrow’s global leaders. It’s a win-win for everyone involved — students get the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom to real-world challenges,while community partners enjoy the tangible benefits of the services our students provide.
Dr. Amit Chakma
President & Vice-Chancellor
Benefits For Students
CSL offers a number of valuable benefits to students, including:
- Meaningful connections to local and international communities
- Context to apply academic learning outside the classroom
- Hands-on experience to aid in building a resume
- Development of critical thinking skills
- Enhanced understanding of diverse cultures and communities
- Opportunities to learn/practice transferable skills including communication, teambuilding, and problem-solving
- Increased sense of civic engagement and social responsibility
Benefits For Community Partners
CSL offers a number of valuable benefits to community partners, including:
- Increased capacity by having students provide daily office support or work on long-term projects that meet defined needs within the organization.
- New perspectives as students bring fresh insight and creativity by making connections between their academics and how to apply that knowledge in real-world settings.
- Increased awareness of your organization as students become familiar with your mission and share the work they are doing to peers and professors in the Western community.
- Knowledge Exchange as we encourage you to actively engage and participate in the student learning process - becoming an integral part of the educational experience of Western students.
Benefits For Faculty Members
CSL offers a number of valuable benefits to faculty members, including:
- Meaningful engagement with teaching that makes a real difference in the community.
- Improved learning outcomes as students apply theoretical concepts in real-world settings.
- Frequent opportunities for students to engage in self-directed learning.
- Connections with community organizations that can lead to research collaborations and other forms of engaged scholarship.
Interested in CSL?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- CSL Grants
- The Student Success Centre offers several awards that recognize, encourage and support projects undertaken by community partners, Western students and Western faculty that meet an identified need in the community and provide Western students with an increased sense of civic engagement and social responsibility.
- Curricular/Course Credit
This form of CSL integrates service to the community with specific course curriculum. The reflection component is incorporated into the design of the course and can vary from journaling and essays to classroom discussion. The hands-on, practical experience in the community allows students to gain a deeper understanding of course content as it applies to local and international contexts.Read More
- Co-curricular/Non-Course Credit
This form of CSL is offered as an out-of-classroom opportunity and no course credit is given. Co-curricular experiences range in length and depth; some are designed as one-day introductory programs and others last over multiple weeks. Though not tied directly to coursework, structured learning activities allow students to connect their service experiences with individual goals, values, academic study and leadership development.Read More
- Community Service Learning Network (CSLN)
The CSL Network is a new program created to focus on year-round local CSL opportunities for teams of Western students.Read More
- Western Serves
This one-day CSL program allows Western students, faculty and staff to serve in a variety of activities with community partners such as the Boys & Girls Club and ReForest London!Read More