Campus Life


Service-learning courses combine experiential learning and community needs. The intent of service-learning is to change both the recipient and the provider of the service. This is usually accomplished by combining service tasks with structured opportunities that link the task to self-reflections, self-discovery and the acquisition and comprehension of values, skills and knowledge content. Students gain first-hand experience within their disciplines while learning they can have a positive role in their communities using the knowledge they gain at Illinois College.

While each service-learning course varies, each combines components of reflection and reciprocity. Students constantly reflect on core issues that bring rise to community needs. During the course, students not only provide a service to the community they help, but learn and grow as the experience helps them better understand the material learned inside the classroom.

Sample of Illinois College Service-Learning Courses

:: Professor Kelly Dagan teaches a social stratification course in which students are assigned to work with community organizations in order to help them understand the sociological perspective on the class system and class inequality that exist in the United States. Students engage in five to six hours of community service each week, which teaches them to be civically responsible, to strengthen the community and to more fully apply and understand academic theory and research on the issue of social class. Apart from engaging in the daily activities of the organization, students also attend various board meetings for the community agencies and are in charge of organizing a project. Students have worked with the Prairie Council on Aging, the Jacksonville Area Center for Independent Living, Habitat for Humanity, the Jacksonville Area Food Center and the Boys and Girls Club.

:: Sociology professor Jan Buhrman teaches a methodology course where students study the quantitative and qualitative approaches in social research and learn the steps involved in conducting and analyzing this research. Students design and develop this research right from the beginning. As a part of this course, students perform research with area organizations, campus departments and offices according to their needs.

:: English and writing professor Cynthia Cochran worked with students on designing, writing and developing Web pages. Students learned the basics of Web development and writing for the Web. They then partnered with area organizations and helped develop or improve the organization’s Web site.

:: Accounting professor John Rush works with students in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The program is sponsored by the IRS. His Accounting 407 VITA course offers students credit to learn how to prepare tax returns. Students then use this knowledge to volunteer time during tax season to prepare and file tax returns for low income, disabled and elderly people.

:: Education professor Jaime Klein teaches a class on integrating technology in all classrooms, both all levels and all contents. Students learn about different technologies and ways to use it in their future classrooms to further develop knowledge and higher level thinking skills. As part of the course requirements, students work on projects that assist local classroom teachers in their efforts to integrate technology in their classrooms.

For more information on current service-learning courses at IC, please contact Professor Kelly Dagan at or Coordinator of Community Engagement and Service at

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