Service-Learning at SUNY Fredonia
By extending academic work beyond the classroom to serve identified needs in the community, the practice of service-learning directly responds to SUNY Fredonia’s declared mission “to develop and support service to individuals and organizations beyond the campus by opening the university's extensive educational, recreational, and cultural facilities to the community . . . and by encouraging faculty and staff to contribute their expertise to the variety of community-based endeavors for which it may be of value” as well as its mission “to encourage teaching and learning in formal and informal settings on and off campus, as well as through field experiences, student support programs, services and activities.”
At the SUNY FACE Center, we envision service-learning as an educational experience that goes beyond volunteering to balance service and academic inquiry. Service-learning connects campus and community by integrating community service into academic curriculum, providing opportunities for students to reflect upon their experiences, and striving for equal benefits for the students and the recipients of their service. SUNY Fredonia faculty engage their students in a wide range of service-learning activities, from long-term research projects that directly benefit the community to short-term community service projects embedded into a single course. While there is no single model for successful service-learning, SUNY Fredonia faculty and community partnerships increasingly reveal the exciting potential for service experiences to enrich student learning across the disciplines and in interdisciplinary programs. The SUNY FACE Center will serve as both a clearinghouse of resources for faculty, community partners, and students, as well as a facilitator of campus-community partnerships in service-learning activities across campus. Our goal is to foster meaningful, productive connections between the community and campus, in order to broaden the possibilities for mutually beneficial relationships between academic work and community service.