About the Program

Berea College’s service-learning program resides in the Center for Excellence in Learning through Service. Service-learning staff work with faculty and community organizations. Together, they design collaborative projects that address community issues. These projects allow students to develop and apply academic and critical thinking skills.

Through service-learning, students make connections between academic course content and community issues. Service-learning also facilitates the exchange of ideas, knowledge and resources between

  • Berea College
  • the local community,
  • the Appalachian region and beyond.

What Is Service-Learning?

Service-learning is an educational experience based upon a collaborative partnership between college and community. It allows students to apply academic knowledge and critical thinking skills to meet community needs. Students gain deeper knowledge of course content and the importance of civic engagement. This is accomplished through reflection and assessments. (Definition developed by the Berea College Service-Learning Advisory Committee, March 2004.) For more information, view our Elements of Service-Learning.

Service-Learning at Berea College

Faculty have connected their teaching with community service and outreach throughout Berea College’s history. Establishment of the College’s service-learning program and CELTS happened in 2000. The service-learning program provides support for:

  • faculty,
  • staff,
  • students and
  • community partners who involved in service-learning activities.

The service-learning has become a significant feature of the College’s academic program. First, the number of service-learning courses taught each semester has increased. Second, new programs for faculty and community partner development have been established. Last, support for service-learning collaborations has grown.

Today, service-learning courses are included in over 20 disciplines across campus. Our community partners include non-profit agencies, community organizations and schools. These organizations work in different ways toward:

  • providing needed services,
  • promoting greater educational and economic opportunities for the Appalachian region,
  • addressing poverty issues and
  • working toward a more just, sustainable and peaceful world.

Berea College affiliates itself with:

  • regional groups, such as Just Connections and
  • national groups, such as Campus Compact.

These groups use service-learning as a tool for engaged learning and to address community needs.