Center for Excellence in Learning Through Service (CELTS)


About the Program

The 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.

Service-learning experiences allow students to make connections between academic course content and community issues. This is all accomplished in the broader context of civic engagement. Service-learning facilitates the exchange of ideas, knowledge and resources between Berea College and the local community, Appalachian region and beyond.

What Is Service-Learning?

Service-learning is an educational experience based upon a collaborative partnership between college and community. Students can apply academic knowledge and critical thinking skills to meet genuine community needs. This is all accomplished through reflection and assessment. Thus, students gain deeper knowledge of course content and the importance of civic engagement. (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 connect their teaching with community service and outreach. This is something faculty have done throughout Berea College’s history. The College takes pride in its strong history of learning through service. Berea College’s formal service-learning program came into being in 2000. The Center for Excellence in Learning Through Service was also established during that time. The service-learning program at Berea College provides support for:

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

In this short time, service-learning has become a significant feature of the academic program at Berea College.

  • The number of service-learning courses taught each semester has increased.
  • Establishment of new programs for faculty and community partner development.
  • Support for service-learning collaborations has grown.

At Berea College today, faculty teach service-learning courses in over 20 disciplines across campus. Our community partners include non-profit agencies, community organizations and schools. These organizations work in different ways to:

  • Provide needed services,
  • Promote greater educational and economic opportunities for the Appalachian region,
  • Address poverty issues and
  • Work toward a more just, sustainable and peaceful world.

Berea College affiliates with regional groups, such as Just Connections. It also partners with national groups, such as Campus Compact. These groups commit to using service-learning as a tool for engaged learning and to address community needs.

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