The mission of the Service-Learning Program at the University of St. Thomas is to assist the University in serving others, specifically in offering resources to meet the needs of the Greater Houston Metropolitan area. Acting to fulfill the University’s vision of responding creatively to challenges posed by poverty, globalization, limited economic resources and changing demographics, as well as to the mission of Catholic universities delineated in Ex Corde Ecclesia, students are able to connect classroom theory with practical experience in the community.
To quote the Campus Compact, “Service-learning is meant to expand opportunities for public and community service in higher education, and to advocate the importance of civic responsibility in students’ learning.” In addition, a January 2000 study by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, “How Service-lLarning Affects Students”, includes the following findings:
“Service participation shows significant positive effects on all 11 outcome measures: academic performance (GPA, writing skills, critical thinking skills), values (commitment to activism and promoting racial understanding), self-efficacy, leadership (leadership activities, self-rated leadership ability, interpersonal skills), choice of a service career and plans to participate in service after college.”
Programs and Projects
Service-Learning provides students with experiences where they can apply their theoretical and classroom learning to the real world of educational practice.
School of Education examples of service-learning projects include: building gardens for local elementary schools, and creating dynamic projects for local school in literature, math, reading and science. Such programs include:
- Children’s Literature Night
- Super Science Saturday
- Lemonade Day
- A November Night with Numbers