The What and the Why of Service-Learning: One of the defining characteristics of Florida Gulf Coast University is its institutional commitment to service, put into practice through the civic engagement activities of faculty, staff, and students. Service-learning connects students to the community and the classroom to the real world. Through service-learning students are both learners and teachers, sharing themselves and their knowledge and, in turn, learning from the clients and the environment where they serve. Because service-learning is such a powerful teaching tool and because service-learning sets the stage for continued community involvement, University founders established service-learning as an undergraduate requirement.
How Service-Learning Works: Students admitted to FGCU as first-year (FTIC) students or lower level transfers must complete 80 hours of service-learning as part of their graduation requirement. Students admitted as upper-level transfers must complete 40 hours of service-learning as part of their graduation requirement. FTIC students who have earned a Florida AA degree prior to matriculating at FGCU (through dual enrollment and accelerated credit) must complete 40 hours of service-learning as part of their graduation requirement. Students dual-enrolled in the FGCU Accelerated Collegiate Experience (ACE) program (part-time or full-time) will be required to complete 80 hours of service-learning as part of their graduation requirement.
Students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree at another institution and are admitted to FGCU to complete a second undergraduate degree must complete 40 hours of service-learning as part of their second degree’s graduation requirements. Students who have completed a bachelor’s degree at FGCU and are re-admitted to FGCU to complete a second undergraduate degree have already fulfilled the degree requirements for service-learning; however, if they register for a class that has a service-learning requirement, they are obligated to complete it as a component of the course’s requirements. Although there is no service-learning graduation requirement for graduate level students, they may be enrolled in courses that integrate service-learning as an effective teaching methodology and therefore would engage in service as a component of their coursework.
It is each student’s responsibility to know his or her classification at matriculation and to submit and document the required service-learning hours through the Office of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, preferably one semester prior to graduation.
The office assists students in locating appropriate service agencies and documenting their service-learning graduation requirement.
To ensure that an activity is service-learning:
Documenting Service-Learning Hours: Agreement and Verification forms are used to document service-learning hours. Using this form, a student enters into an agreement with an agency to perform specific service-learning activities. Forms are downloadable on our website - www.fgcu.edu/connect. Please read and follow the directions for filling out the agreement and verification form. Forms should be completed and printed prior to service.
After the service activity has been satisfactorily performed, the agency or event supervisor verifies completion by entering the number of hours served and signing the form.
Signed agreement and verification forms are to be returned to the Office of Service-Learning, LIB 458. When taking a service-learning course, the faculty member teaching the course must sign the form and record the completed service-learning activity before the form is brought to the office. Students should always keep copies of their submitted forms to ensure successful graduation.