UWM has a long history of strong ties to the City of Milwaukee, as demonstrated by our Carnegie Designation for Community Engagement. One of the ways UWM faculty and teaching staff can connect to this part of the UWM identity is to incorporate a service-learning component into new or existing courses. When using best practices such as formative and summative reflection and assessment, service-learning projects that impact the community, and community-based learning placements that are tied to the course content, can be powerful high-impact practices.
First-generation, freshman students who took a service-learning course at UWM had a second fall retention rate of 75.3%, compared to non-service learners, whose retention rate was 69.8%. Students who engage in academic service learning not only gain a deeper understanding of course content, but also build personal and professional networks in the community. The Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research (CCBLLR) is available to assist faculty with all aspects of academic service learning such as developing a syllabus, matching course learning goals to community needs, and tracking student placements. More information and support is available (including a Service Learning Toolkit) on the faculty page of the CCBLLR website.