Community Service Learning

Review past WU Service-Learning Syllabi

Whether your Ecology students are helping Salem-Keiser students build birdhouses, your Psychology students are studying animal behavior through service with Dog Control, or your Rhetoric students are designing outreach campaigns for local nonprofits, there are a countless ways to integrate your course with the greater community.

If you would like more information in regards to developing your Service-Learning course, we encourage you to take a look at our Service-Learning course resources page or to contact any of the faculty members listed below. Of course, we also welcome you to contact our office at service@willamette.edu, where we would be happy to help you develop a service component for your course!


Service-Learning Course Syllabi (alpha by department)

Anthropology/Latin American Studies 251: Latin American Cultures (.pdf)
Peter Wogan, 2001
Service-Learning Components: Direct service, service journal, culminating assignment (lesson plan)
SL Description: A required service-learning component involves working as ESL/literacy tutors of Bush Elementary school students; this service will be integrated with academic questions and class materials. Although certain topics are considered from an interdisciplinary perspective, the primary emphasis is on anthropological questions. Students will write up a lesson plan for their Bush Elementary School students, ensuring that it is culturally relevant, sensitive, and tailored to their students. A description of how this plan relates to students’ service-learning experience is also required. Service-specific instructions can be found here. (.pdf)

Anthropology 344: Medical Anthropology (.doc)
Joyce Millen, 2007
Service Learning Components: Community-based research, service journal, community presentation
SL Description: Working in teams, students will conduct basic qualitative and quantitative research among Marion County’s most vulnerable populations. The aim of this research is to assess levels of emergency preparedness among vulnerable populations and collect data the Health Department needs to better prepare the county for emergencies, such as a pandemic influenza outbreak, earthquake, or other natural or human-made disaster. Each research team will formally present their collective findings to the Marion County Health Department Working Group on Emergency Preparedness Students will also be required to keep and to submit an organized notebook containing a descriptive journal of their research efforts and a compilation of the data they collect in the course of their research.

Biology 255: General Ecology (.pdf)
David Craig, 2001
Service-Learning Components: Direct service, service journal, culminating assignment (lesson plan)
SL Description: Each Willamette ecology student will be paired with a Salem area middle school student. Students’ primary tasks will be to cooperatively build and place a birdhouse in an area that supports Marion County’s restoration ecology objectives. The house should be built and placed with a specific bird species in mind. Students will teach the middle school student about the niche concept, hypothesis testing, and the reason behind why birdhouses help heal the landscape. Ultimately the professor hopes Willamette students will help the middle school students imagine themselves as future college students and scientists.

English 125: Creative Writing (.doc); English 332: Imaginative Writing (.doc)
Olympia F. Vernon, 2007
Service-Learning Components: Direct service, service journal, culminating assignment
SL Description: Students are to choose a community outreach center (e.g., Bush Elementary School, Mid-Valley Women’s Crisis Service, Richmond Elementary School, Washington Elementary School) of their choice and donate one hour per week to this service location. Students are to invent a writing project themselves and a member of one of these programs for the project to be displayed at the end of the semester. Students will document carefully the dates and times of service each week in their journal. The project must be creative and a powerful announcement to “giving back” to the community in a form that leaves a positive impact on a person’s life through words and art.

History 307: American Immigration History (.doc)
Ellen Eisenberg, 2013
Service-Learning Components: Direct service, writing assignments, final paper
SL Description: Students will have the opportunity to perform community service aimed at better understand immigrant experiences and policies, and connecting historical student to current social issues. Students will arrange a service assignment based on their research interests. Twenty hours is the minimum service commitment required of students who select this option. For the final paper (12-15 pp.), students will reflect on their service experiences.

History 315: Western Civilization and Sustainability (.pdf)
Wendy Petersen Boring, 2008
Service-Learning Components: Direct service, reflection paper
SL Description: Each student will choose one service-learning project to complete before the end of the semester. If possible, a group opportunity will be provided. There is no absolute rule regarding number of hours, but the project should be substantial enough to merit reflection on our course themes. Many projects will fall between ten and twelve hours of time; others may be on-going or of a more significant or permanent nature. A reflection paper of 5-7 pages single-spaced is due on the last day of class.  Students’ task in the paper is to connect course content with their experience in a meaningful way. Service-specific instructions can be found here. (.pdf)

Interdisciplinary Studies 205: Chemawa Indian School Partnership Program (.doc)
Rebecca Dobkins, 2006
Service-Learning Components: Direct service, reflection journal, in-class discussion
SL Description: Students serve as tutors and mentors at the Chemawa Indian School (CIS) of Salem and, in turn, learn from and with Chemawa students, and are mentored by Native American adult educators. Tutoring is on-site, covering basic academic subjects such as reading, math, science, and social studies.  Mentoring includes hosting Chemawa students on the Willamette campus for academic and social events. Ongoing reflection occurs both in class and through weekly journal entries.

Politics 123: Citizenship and Apathy (.doc)
Melissa Michaux, 2006
Service-Learning Components: Direct service, final paper
SL Description: There is a student internship commitment of 30 hours over the course of the semester, arranged at mutually agreeable times with the organizations. It is the hope of the professor that these experiences will enrich class discussions and the overall learning experience for the course. At the end of the internship, students will write a paper addressing some aspect of social capital theory using the experience of students’ internships. For those unable to participate in the service-learning component of the course, a 20 page research paper may be substituted upon arrangement with the professor.

Politics 303: Politics and Sexuality (.doc)
David Gutterman, 2012
Service-Learning Components: Direct service, service journal, writing assignment

SL Description: Students will Choose an organization whose work addresses issues of sex and sexuality and dedicate 20-25 hours of service work to this organization over the course of the semester. Students will be asked to keep a journal in which to reflect on the work and the intersection with the themes explored in class.  Finally, students will compose an 8+ page “reflective essay” in which they engage in sustained consideration of a particular theme addressed in class and how their understanding of this theme was enhanced by their service-learning experience.

Politics 318: Death in America (.doc)
Sammy Basu, 2012
Service-Learning Components: Direct service, service journal, writing assignment, in-class presentation
SL Description: Students complete and 8-10 page reflective essay regarding 20-25 hours of on-site service involvement, a personal journal of experiences, and relevant secondary scholarship. Students also provide a brief (15-20 min) in-class presentation on reflections upon the service-learning experience.

Psychology 105: Ecological Psychology (.doc)
Susan Koger, 2009
Service-Learning Components:  Direct service, writing assignment
SL Description: Students will work collaboratively to create or continue campus-wide or community campaigns to influence others' environmentally related behaviors. You are expected to participate in at least 6-8 hours of service, and then complete a reflection essay.

Psychology 336: Social Psychology (.doc)
Jennifer Wallin-Ruschman, 2013
Service-Learning Components: Direct service, writing assignments
SL Description:: Students will engage in a minimum of 20 hours of community work throughout the term. Community engagement papers will be submitted throughout the term and should be 2 pages long. These papers should connect and/or apply approximately three concepts or theories from class to students’ experiences.

Psychology 340: Psychology of Learning (.doc)
Susan Koger, 2013
Service-Learning Components: Direct service, service journal, final paper
SL Description: A service-learning opportunity has been established with Marion County Dog Control. Following an orientation, students will be asked to volunteer over the course of the term for at least 15 hours. Students should find ways of applying various course concepts while they work with the dogs. Additionally, students will keep a journal detailing the dates/times of their participation, as well as notes about their experiences as they relate to each week&'s course material in preparation for the final paper (4-6 pages). Final papers will include an overall reflection on students' experiences, and a discussion of the specific ways in which students' observations/interactions with the dogs related to the course content.

Religious Studies 334: Liberation Theology and Social Change (.doc)
Charlie Wallace, 2010
Service-Learning Components: Direct service, writing assignment
SL Description: Students engage in, research, and write up 20 hours of service to a local grassroots organization working for social change. Students’ ten-page word-processed paper will discuss the context for the activity they engage in (both the organization’s history and how it fits into liberation theory) and reflect upon that activity.  Participation in an Alternative Spring Break qualifies as basis for their project. Opportunity to talk about it in a final session is provided.

Rhetoric 221: Designing Persuasive Campaigns (.doc)
Courtney Dillard, 2013
Service-Learning Components: capacity building, direct service, writing assignments, community-based research, community presentation
SL Description: Students will be presented the opportunity to work directly with a community agency to research, plan, develop, and implement and communication campaign on behalf of the agency. Working under the supervision of the agency contact, students will analyze key audiences, formulate clear goals and objectives, craft persuasive appeals, utilize appropriate channels/tactics, and present a communication plan to the agency and class.

Rhetoric 242: Leadership and Communication (.doc)
Jeanne E. Clark, 2007
Service-Learning Components: direct service, service journal, final paper
SL Description: A core part of students’ experience in this class will involve participation in a major group service project. This will involve a time commitment outside of class and off campus—25 to 35 hours spread over the term. Students will be expected to keep a journal on their service activity The journal should note what students do, what they observe of group interaction and leadership behavior, and what links they see to points in class discussion. Student journals will not be graded, but will be submitted with their final paper. That paper, 10-15 pp, typed, should provide a close, theory-linked analysis of their service-interaction.

Sociology 430: Families (.doc)
Carol Ireson Doolittle, 2006
Service-Learning Components: Direct service, final project, in-class presentation
SL Description: Each class member will work with a local agency concerned with families or children and families to write a research report based on data of interest to the agency and relevant to sociology of families. The research project is not solely for each student. Elements of the research project are important to the local agency providing the data. In addition, research project topics will be incorporated into the course. Therefore, each student is responsible to the local agency as well as to the class for producing a quality project. Final Project with Research Report and Presentation

Spanish 331: Composition and Discussion
Patricia Varas, 2013
Service-Learning Components: Direct service (tutoring), service journal, writing assignments
SL Description: Students will serve as tutors to Latin@ youth in the Salem Keizer School District. Through these tutoring sessions, students will apply the linguistic and cultural knowledge gained in class while at the same time contributing to the needs of the community and the development of students’ abilities related to critical thinking, cultural knowledge, and civic engagement. Tutoring is obligatory and requires a commitment of at least two hours a week. Service-specific instructions can be found here. (.pdf)

Women and Gender Studies 245: Feminism, Gender, and Society (Web)
Frann Michel, 2008
Service-Learning Components: Attendance at community event/initiative, writing assignment
SL Description: Because feminism is not a purely academic subject, this assignment requires students to visit and report on a feminist group, event, or resource. For instance, students might attend a meeting (or several meetings) of NOW, NARAL, Students for Choice, or the campus Women's Center. Students might volunteer as a clinic escort, or attend a feminist rally, lecture, or concert. Because feminism is a collective movement, and because some of these events may take place outside Salem, the professor encourages students to attend them in company with classmates, and to discuss their experiences together before writing their own essay. Draw on our readings where they help students to develop their analysis (for instance, in defining how the event is feminist). Students' essay should have a clearly-stated thesis, that is, a main point that characterizes and assesses the subject of your report. The paper should describe and critique the event: its purpose, participants, strategies, and outcome.