Service Learning

  • Learn and serve the world

    The Office of Service-Learning supports credit-bearing experiences that integrate faith, service, and academic inquiry. Marshaling the intellectual resources of the University towards the common good, Service-Learning will build innovative bridges among students, faculty and community agencies, enriching courses to be socially relevant, beneficial to the community, and supportive of excellence in teaching and learning.

    What is Service Learning?

    Here’s a simple definition that represents what service-learning looks like at Gannon. “Service-learning is a credit-bearing, educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.”

    Robert Bringle and Julie Hatcher, “A Service Learning Curriculum for Faculty.” The Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning. Fall 1995. 112-122. 

    What kinds of service-learning opportunities are available near Gannon?

    Service-learning opportunities are available with dozens of local organizations. The Office of Service-Learning works with organizations in many fields such as afterschool programs, animal welfare, arts and culture, criminal justice, disaster relief, economic development, environmental sustainability, food security, health and wellness, homelessness, neighborhood development, peace and justice, persons with disabilities, refugee resettlement and senior citizens. Some organizations also offer work-study opportunities. All of them are rewarding in ways that you could not have imagined.

    What are Some Examples of Service-Learning Projects at Gannon

    Our active student body participates in service-learning at many levels. All first-year students have short-term service-learning assignments to introduce the Erie community. Upper-level and graduate students often do longer-term service-learning or community-based research that require specialized skills to take classroom learning out into the real world:

    • Accounting students in the Advanced Taxes class prepare income taxes at a neighborhood community center
    • Nursing students conduct blood pressure and diabetes screenings in senior high-rise residences
    • Criminal Justice students have documented, analyzed and removed graffiti from dozens of Erie buildings
    • Biology students conduct water quality testing in Lake Erie from Gannon’s research vessel, the Environaut
    • Advanced Composition students in English publish a civic engagement newsletter
    • Physical Therapy students develop fitness regimens for blind and visually-impaired teens
    • Communications students use digital design to create maps, posters and t-shirts for non-profits like Habitat for Humanity
    • Engineering students are building a sediment collection device to analyze nonpoint source pollution in Cascade Creek