SERV Course Attribute

Using the SERV attribute in course scheduling

Faculty who teach or design courses with a service learning or community engagement component (in which students work on a project in partnership with a non-profit or government agency) are encouraged to use the SERV attribute when scheduling this type of course.  Use of this attribute will allow students to search for courses with an engagement component.  Moreover, data on the number of students participating in these types of courses will be available for institutional research.

Faculty who wish to designate their classes in this fashion should make sure to include the following two items  to the departmental scheduler:

1. Add the SERV attribute, which can be found on the BASICS tab under Class Attributes

2. Add NOTE 0122 which provides students with a description of service learning.

Academic Service Learning Definition and Guidelines:

Academic Service Learning (community engagement) courses include an application of the course content in a real life setting for a portion of the class time.  Required reflection on the experience promotes integration of the class material and an appreciation of community assets and needs.

 Types of community projects:

  • Broad (Students work on many different types of projects.)
  • Narrow (All students work on the same or related projects with a single community partner.)

Amount of time spent on community project:

  • Partial: Students participate in one or two short community engagement experiences to explore one or two learning goals in a course.
  • Full: Semester-long projects in which students use the community engagement experience to explore major terms, key theories, hallmark writings, of course.)

(Adapted from, “Service as Text:  Making the Metaphor Meaningful” Lori Varlotta, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in Michigan Journal of Community Service-Learning, Fall 2000, pp 76-84.)

 For a consultation on how to build a service-learning/community engagement component into a course please contact Leann Moore ( , Assistant Director of service learning for the Community Engagement Initiative.

 Exemplary Service-Learning Syllabi

  • Include service as an expressed goal
  • Clearly describe how the service experience will be measured and what will be measured
  • Describe the nature of the service placement and/or project
  • Specify the roles and responsibilities of students in the placement and/or service project (e.g., transportation, time requirements, community contacts, etc.)
  • Define the need(s) the service placement meets
  • Specify how students will be expected to demonstrate what they have learned in the placement/project (journal, papers, presentations)
  • Present course assignments that link the service placement and the course content
  • Include a description of the reflective process

(Excerpted from Heffernan, Kerrissa. Fundamentals of Service-Learning Course Construction. RI: Campus Compact, 2001, pp. 2-7, 9.)