Service-Learning is Chaminade University’s Mission Statement in action; it:
- offers its students an education in a collaborative learning environment;
- prepares them for life, service and successful careers;
- encourages the development of moral character and personal competencies, and the commitment to build a just and peaceful society; and
- offers the civic and church communities of the Pacific region its academic and intellectual resources in the pursuit of common aims.
Service-Learning helps to bridge the “real world” and the classroom. Research, both locally and nationwide, has shown that service-learning is effective as a method of teaching and as a means of learning. It helps improve students’ grades, test scores, attendance, and self-confidence. It builds critical thinking and communication skills and fosters civic engagement while allowing students to test and apply what they are learning in the classroom.
Our Marianist values drive the focus of the learning and intended impacts of service-learning. The concepts of human flourishing and the common good are central. Humans “flourish” with the following:
- Meaningful relationships with people and the Earth
- Good health and well-being
- The ability to equitably contribute to the community
- Safety and protection of their dignity and rights.
The “common good” refers to the conditions which promote human flourishing for everyone (persons and groups) within a social system. The common good requires that our well-being be realized in a setting in which others can also flourish – the “good” is something we can only have together when each person’s full dignity is respected. This has a deeper meaning than just “living/being” with others. Each person has a responsibility to seek meaning and truth and contribute to the common good. No realization of the common good can disregard persons or groups as unworthy. The common good exists within each social system (ie: families, work settings, neighborhoods, cities, nations), and all of these social systems should be organized in a way to realize the common good.
In light of these foci, service-learning helps us achieve learning outcomes for civic and community engagement. We do service-learning because we value . . .
. . . community-building skills and practices. Community building includes establishing and sustaining solidarity and “right relationships” within a community, to support human flourishing and the pursuit of the common good.
. . . critical reflection that integrates knowledge with experience.
. . . the development of “practical wisdom,” the ability to reason well about goods /goals/outcomes, and the ability to make informed choices about the means to accomplish those goods/goals/outcomes.
. . . students‘ knowledge and gifts, and how those meet the community’s most pressing needs. This includes a focus on vocation for justice.
. . . the integration of faith and reason.
. . . collaboration with the community, prioritizing those who have been marginalized.
. . . the ability to engage in authentic, faith-informed dialogue about that which transcends or unites our differences. This requires deep knowledge of diversity in its various forms.
. . . engagement in the public sphere, including informed public discourse that influences public decisions and policy.
This paper* published by the AMU explains our Marianist values and the prioritization of community & civic engagement in our universities. It includes strategies for teaching, learning outcomes, and assessment ideas.
*Portal login is required for access