Community-Based Service Learning
Hartwick College is committed to Community Based Service Learning (CBSL) as an important tool to further its mission of melding liberal arts with experiential learning.
Through CBSL, students apply course content to help find solutions for every-day problems occurring in the Oneonta community. They learn the practical applications of their studies, and in the process they become actively contributing citizens and community members through the service they perform.
CBSL is a powerful pedagogy with many definitions and approaches. Here at Hartwick College, CBSL is a credit-bearing activity in which groups of students work with community partners under the guidance of a professor or staff member to meet both educational goals as well as the identified needs of the partner. Reflection activities and discussions on the service augment the understanding of course content, create a broader awareness of the discipline's impact in the community, and develop a sense of civic responsibility.
At Hartwick, CBSL is characterized by:
- Engagement - Service or work that addresses local community needs and involves them in the learning process
- Academics - A direct link between the community-based work and the Hartwick curriculum
- Reflection - In which students actively combine learning in and out of the classroom
- Reciprocity - When CBSL moves learning out of the classroom, all stakeholders have the potential to both function as a teacher and a learner. Participants are colleagues rather than clients or servers.
In effective service-learning activities, Hartwick students bridge theory with experience, and thought with action. The Oneonta community's needs are addressed though a participatory and reciprocal process where service is meaningful and relevant. Hartwick students engage in longer-term relationships with community members and leaders, and see how their academic disciplines can solve critical everyday problems in the community.
Through CBSL, Hartwick students develop an awareness of the needs and experiences of the community, an enhanced sense of responsibility toward society, and preparation for careers and continued education.
CBSL combines the experiences of community service with the benefits of academic study through exposure to concrete issues and solutions within a discipline. Students can also strengthen their employment opportunities through 1) citing these service-learning activities on their resumes and 2) gaining valuable insights into future careers.