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Service-Learning at Illinois College
The Mission of Service-Learning at Illinois College

Anchored in one of the central goals of the mission of Illinois College, the service-learning program at Illinois College focuses on educating the College about service-learning and developing and coordinating service-learning opportunities across campus, both curricular and co-curricular. The purpose of service-learning at IC is to promote student engagement and learning, social responsibility, and to strengthen the local and global community in which we live.
Service-learning at Illinois College is also rooted in and is a key component of the Leadership Program because we believe service-learning is integral to the development of successful leaders. We adopt the “servant leader” model, in which those aspiring to become successful leaders choose to first serve others (Greenleaf 1970). It is through service-learning that one can build trust with others, understand their needs, aid in meeting their needs, and therefore become an effective leader.

The Definition of Service-Learning at Illinois College

At Illinois College we value service and intentionally strive to connect service to coursework and other learning opportunities by encouraging service-learning. Service-learning comprises a wide range of experiential learning where students combine activities that address human and community needs with structured opportunities to reflect upon their service as it links to student learning.

The Importance of “Reflection” Within Service-Learning Experiences

Reflection is the key component that transforms service into service-learning. Without structured reflection, individuals are unable to fully understand and appreciate the effect the service experience has had on themselves as individuals and the community they served. Additionally, without structured reflection, individuals are less capable of engaging in critical analysis and undertaking meaningful social change.

Assistant Director of Leadership and Service-Learning

Kelly A. Dagan, Illinois College Assistant Director of Leadership and Service-Learning, serves to coordinate service-learning across the campus. The assistant director supervises service-learning as it is integrated in the College’s Leadership Program; educates and supports faculty with respect to service-learning; seeks out, develops, and coordinates service-learning opportunities; and assesses outcomes related to service-learning experiences.

The Goals of Service-Learning at Illinois College

  • To educate students and faculty about the importance of service-learning and the full spectrum of service-learning opportunities. For example, Jacoby and associates (1996) have identified a wide range of activities, including the following: 
    • one-time, short-term opportunities,
    • ongoing co-curricular opportunities,
    • curricular service-learning opportunities,
    • intensive service-learning opportunities, and
    • post-graduation service-learning opportunities.

  • To develop and implement service-learning opportunities within rigorous academic courses across the curriculum.

  • To encourage the five phases of student development through service-learning as discussed by Delve, Mintz and Stewart (1990), by providing service-learning opportunities that allow for: 
    • exploration – experience introductory opportunities for service-learning;
    • clarification – explore service opportunities to concentrate on an area of interest;
    • internalization – realize full integration of service into individuals’ lives.

  • To assess participation in service-learning by focusing on outcomes, as discussed by Bucco and Busch (1996), that may include:
    • student outcomes – learn course material, improve critical thinking and leadership skills, increase self-esteem, and develop a greater commitment to social responsibility;
    • community outcomes – increase community empowerment, and improve services, and undertake more effective advocacy for groups and issues.
    • institutional outcomes – improve College/community relations, increase student learning, and enhance innovative teaching and research opportunities for faculty.
For additional information, click to contact Kelly A. Dagan

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