Enhance your courses with community learning

Community learning is a course or competency based 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 and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.

Register your course: help promote community learning at Virginia Tech

If you are a faculty member teaching a course that has a community-learning (service-learning) component, please register your course with our office. 

This process allows for VT Engage to track the breadth and depth of curricular-based community-learning occurring across all academic disciplines of the institution in an effort to better support faculty, as well as raise the profile of community learning at Virginia Tech. Additionally, VT Engage team members are available to provide assistance to courses with a community learning component in a variety of ways:

  • Consulting with faculty on course design and syllabus development
  • Facilitating faculty and student connections with community partners
  • Developing orientation, reflection, and assessment strategies that enhance the impact of community engaged learning on the student experience

For more information or to arrange a consultation, email engage@vt.edu.


Faculty Fellows

The Faculty Fellows Program is an opportunity for new and experienced service-learning practitioners to participate in the collaborative design of intentional, learning-focused community engagement opportunities.

The program includes support for instructional faculty who are developing or significantly revising courses or curricular programs utilizing a community-based service learning pedagogy. During the two-year program, VT Engage will support the design of high quality service-learning and community engagement experiences. 

Faculty Fellows will collaborate with community organizations to create or enhance mutually beneficial partnerships, build assessment strategies for student learning and community outcomes, and serve as community engagement ambassadors to the Virginia Tech community. Fellows will present their work products to peers and engage with broader scholarly and practitioner audiences. 


Workshops & Excursions

VT Engage offers workshops and engagement excursions to engage faculty in a variety of ways. Engagement Excursions are designed to showcase current or potential projects to faculty members for purposes of exploring opportunities for student and broader university engagement.

By creating the conversation space to discuss community needs, these events offer an opportunity for authentic community and university dialogue that can serve as a starting point for establishing an ongoing reciprocal partnership. Transportation is provided to those who register. 


Resources

Looking to develop a course with service-learning components? Want to expand your current work? VT Engage staff are available to provide assistance to courses with a community learning component in a variety of ways:

  • Consulting with faculty on course design and syllabus development
  • Facilitating faculty and student connections with community partners
  • Developing orientation, reflection, and assessment strategies that enhance the impact of community engaged learning on the student experience

Involved in or considering service-learning?
The following resources are useful for faculty involved in or considering engaging in service-learning work:

National programs
The below national programs maintain links to assist faculty in course planning, syllabus development, student reflection strategies, and assessment approaches.

The Virginia Tech Common Book Project
According to their website, "the mission of the Common Book Project is to encourage students to broaden their personal perspectives through participation in university discourse among faculty and students around a common text".

Faculty members from VT Engage contributed discussion guides to the 2013-14, 2015-16, and 2017-18 Common Book Projects.