Number of Service Learning Courses
Over the last 17 years, the Service Learning Academy has supported over 2,000 service learning courses at UNO. Since 2012, over 150 service learning courses have been offered each academic year. Over time, positive growth has occurred as more and more service learning courses are offered and supported.
Two types of service learning projects, P-16 initiative and traditional, exist within the courses. P-16 initiative projects include a UNO course, community partner and a P-12 school. Traditional projects include a UNO course and a community partner.
Service Learning Courses by Academic College
During the 2016-17 academic year, the Service Learning Academy supported 175 service learning courses. These courses occurred throughout various departments at UNO. The majority of the courses and projects occurred in the Arts & Sciences College (34.13%) and the College of Public Affairs and Community Service (22.75%). Over the next three years, the Service Learning Academy is focusing on increasing courses and projects within the STEAM disciplines including science, technology engineering, art, and mathematics.
Number of Service Learning Students
Over time, nearly 35,000 UNO students have participated in service learning courses. From 2005 to 2010, on average, 1,650 UNO students completed a service learning course each year. In the last five academic years, on average, 3,347 UNO students completed a service learning course each year.
Additionally, over 15,800 P-12 students from the Omaha metro area have participated in service learning projects since 2010. From 2010 to 2012, an average of 1,857 P-12 students engaged in service learning, while in the last two academic years, the average number of P-12 students was 2,357. This demonstrates growth in the P-16 initiative and the number of P-12 students being reached.
Project Hours and Impact
During the 2016-17 academic year, the Service Learning Academy supported 93 P-16 initiative service learning projects. Each project involved a collaboration between a P-12 classroom, a UNO course, and a community partner. Collectively, students in these projects engaged in over 29,000 hours of service learning. Together, these 93 projects impacted over 179,000 individuals either directly or indirectly!
UNO students who participate in service learning courses are offered the opportunity to participate in research study focused on the impact of service learning. Some of the results are shared below. Along with documenting the impact of service learning, the data collected from this research is used to:
- Develop more effective service learning programming, training and support
- Inform outreach to school and nonprofit partners in the Omaha community
- Encourage faculty participation and promote scholarship
Our research has broken down civic engagement into two categories: knowledge of the community and engagement in the community. UNO students were surveyed to assess these areas before and after their service learning experience.
Knowledge of the Community
During the 2016-17 academic year, UNO students who completed the survey showed a statistically significant increase in their knowledge of the community as described by the following statements: It is my responsibility to be actively involved in my community. I am aware of the problems in my community. I understanding which organizations are working to address the community’s needs.
Engagement in the Community
During the same timeframe, UNO students who completed the survey also showed a statistically significant increase in their engagement in the community as described by the following statements: I am involved in meaningful activities at my school or in my community. I know how to be involved in my community. I often talk about my community as being a great place to live. I feel strongly attached to the community I live in.
Service learning also has a positive impact on student academic engagement. In 2016-17, over 82% of UNO students who were surveyed reporting making a special effort to attend class when working on a service learning project. The majority UNO students also indicated the service learning project allowed them to develop multiple 21st century skills, including applying learning in a real world setting. Additionally, UNO students reported developing skills like team work, listening, and problem solving!
Here’s what UNO students think of service learning
"I love service learning projects. They give so much meaning to what you learn in the classroom."
"This has opened a whole new world for me. I know that we can make a positive change in the community we live in, thus, we can make this world a better place for everyone."
"Don't let service learning project intimidate you. Take advantage of the unique opportunity to apply your knowledge while still in the classroom."
"This project is a great way to do something for the community while learning new skills that are applicable to my education."
***Source: SLA Surveys, 2016-17