Service Learning & The Adult Learner, A New Definition. Contemporary learners are non-traditional students who tend to be self directed, older, working adults, often with various family, community and work obligations. For these learners who are intrinsically motivated and problem-centered, the undergraduate models of service learning can be perceived as burdensome and disconnected from specific learning outcomes. Further, the students might feel that their time and the ways they currently give back to their community and family are not being honored or respected. For these reasons The College of Contemporary Liberal Studies (CCLS) is adopting a contemporary view of service learning that aligns more closely with the needs of the adult learner that CCLS serves. What is Service Learning? Service learning is a learning experience closely tied to at least one specific learning outcome from a course or program that helps foster civic responsibility, honors the student voice, incorporates the various definitions of community as relates to the learner’s culture and life situation, and integrates time for reflection and evaluation. In most universities a student volunteers in some setting that aligns with personal career goals or course work. A nursing student, for example, might travel to an area with a high rate of poverty, or one that is recovering from a natural disaster, and work with doctors to provide medical support. Students in the field of computing might help a non-profit build a viable website. Students across a campus might volunteer at food-banks, shelters, K-12 settings or senior residences. All of these experiences are viable and reasonable for a student who does not also have a full-time job, children, or other time-constraining obligations. Giving Back to the Community Contemporary students are often already involved in “giving back” to the community. These students might be coaching little league teams or volunteering at a child’s K-12 school. Some are involved in a faith community or supporting aging parents. Some adult students have set out on a path toward philanthropy by becoming involved with non-profit organizations that address issues of personal concern, such as the American Heart Association, Oceana, or a local ASPCA. Finally, it might be impossible for an adult student commit to one more activities that require driving, day care, time off work, or time away from school work. Serving Where You Are CCLS is committed to meeting students where they stand academically and from the point of view of Jesuit values. We first ask what community connections currently are engaging our students. We then ask how they can deepen this work through pre-flection, action, and reflection. For example, a student might be taking care of an aging parent, but fail to see this as community services. We would suggest to the student that this is an act of “honoring one’s parents” in most faith traditions, and ask how this experience might deepen with the use of pre- and re-flection. The same might be true for someone who donates blood on a regular basis, or helps a neighbor by driving children to school. Contemporary students often bring greater life experience to their college journey. CCLS committed to honoring and expanding on that experience. Teacher Education Licensure Students For students enrolled in the Undergraduate BA in Elementary Education and Graduate M.Ed. Elementary, Secondary, and Special Education programs within CCLS, your program will have specific requirements for service learning due to Colorado Department of Education standards. Each program will have designated service learning hour requirements that are focused on working with school-aged children and those who support them. For detailed information by program, please visit the Teacher Education Licensure page.