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  • Policy Number: SP.21.004
  • Version:
  • Drafted By:
  • Approved By: President Richard Yao
  • Approval Date: February 01, 2022
  • Effective Date: Fall 2021
  • Supercedes:


To update policy to current best practices and align with the Chancellor’s Office on course attributes for Community Service-Learning (CSLI) and, on our campus, referred to as service-learning (SL). This will enable CSUCI to improve data collection to better support faculty and understand student learning, faculty efforts, and community impact.

The CO, in an effort to better document system-wide community engagement efforts and develop a shared understanding of different types of community engagement across the system, is implementing two course attributes through the S4 database (on our campus called CSUCI SERVES): CCEL (Curricular Community-Engaged Learning – to refer to a broad array of courses that have some type of community engaged assignment); and CSLI (Community Service Learning – to refer to a distinct pedagogy that intentionally and explicitly integrates course learning, civic learning, community learning activities, and community partners). The course attribute is assigned through a faculty survey submitted through the CSUCI SERVES database.

This policy only relates to the SL attribute and codifies what is already in practice through the implementation of the CSUCI SERVES database. It addresses the approval process for the attribute and the role of the Center for Community Engagement in developing and supporting this high-impact practice. This policy does not apply to CCEL, academic or paid internships, teacher preparation placements, fieldwork, or clinical placements in professional programs.


Replaces SP 03-016-B, our original Service-Learning policy from 2003.
Pursuant to Executive Order 1064, the University and each community partner are required to execute a Service-Learning Agreement (SLA). The SLA ensures that the partner and CSUCI formally acknowledge each other’s responsibilities. As with any SL placement for which academic credit is given, a written agreement between the University and the community partner is required. The SLA guides risk management and addresses potential liability issues.

With the SLA in place, participating students are covered by the CSU’s Student Academic Field Experience for Credit Liability Insurance Program (SAFECLIP). SAFECLIP provides indemnity to the partner and prevailing third party, as well as legal defense costs for students, faculty, University, and partner, should a claim or lawsuit involving injury to others or damage to property arise. This coverage is activated only upon execution of the written agreement.



Deans are responsible for compliance with policies and risk management related elements of programs in their colleges. Program Chairs are responsible for informing their department faculty of the service-learning policy and implementation requirements, the Center for Community Engagement is responsible for contracts with community partners and applying all related EOs as refer to risk management and sharing all related information with faculty, staff, and administrators. The CCE works in cooperation with the CSU Center for Community Engagement, the CSUCI Risk Manager, and the Contracts and Procurement office to ensure campus compliance. In order to be in compliance, faculty who want their courses to have the SL attribute must meet the requirements below.


All CSU Channel Islands courses to be assigned the SL attribute.


Adopted from the CSU Community Engaged Learning Taxonomy:
COMMUNITY SERVICE-LEARNING (CSLI): Community Service Learning is the CO’s terminology for Service-Learning, which is a high-impact teaching and learning strategy in which meaningful service addresses a critical societal and/or social justice issue and is a critical component of course curriculum and assessment of student learning. It is characterized by critical reflection and a collaborative partnership among the instructor, students, and community, with a focus on both student learning and community impact.

CURRICULAR COMMUNITY-ENGAGED LEARNING (CCEL) DEFINITION: Community Engaged Learning is the collaboration between institutions of higher education and community partners (entities, organizations, or groups with whom a relationship can be developed) in which students learn and develop through participation in the collaboration; the outcomes of which benefit the common good. (NOTE: CCEL is not covered by this policy.)


To receive the service-learning (SL) attribute, courses must engage in the following high-impact service-learning practices:

  1. Reciprocal partnerships and processes shape the community activities and course design to enhance student understanding of the importance of community learning.
  2. Activities benefit the common good & serve a genuine community need. Student community involvement has a specific benefit to the material, cultural or institutional interests that members of society have in common. This specific benefit to the common good is intentional, planned for, communicated, and assessed with community partners in mind. This may include the organizational capacity, student/client growth, social and economic benefits, etc.
  3. Activities are academically relevant. Student community involvement is relevant to and integrated with the discipline-based academic content and assignments.
  4. Includes explicit civic learning goals: Civic learning goals are articulated and develop students’ capacities to understand and address critical social issues.
  5. Promotes reflection to facilitate learning: Critical reflection/analysis activities and assignments integrate classroom and community learning.
  6. Includes integrated assessment of student learning: Student learning assessment addresses both the discipline-based and civic learning goals and includes learning from community involvement.

Faculty responsibilities for course sections identified as high-quality service-learning that will be documented via the CSUCI Serves Community-Engaged Survey Tool include:

  1. Collaborating with university-approved community partners listed in the CSUCI Serves database to create service-learning projects that extend over the semester and benefit student learning as well as the community. Organizations will serve as co-educators and are involved in the student’s learning process.
  2. Articulating the service-learning component in the course syllabus and learning and service objectives and/or outcomes, and substantially integrating it in course requirements (projects, assignments, presentations, exams, etc.)
  3. Placing students at university-approved partner sites found in the CSUCI SERVES database
  4. Ensuring students use the CSUCI Serves database to register with a university-approved community partner, complete a Service-Learning Plan, an Emergency Contact and a Release of Liability form, and document their time 
  5. Ensuring students are prepared to serve in the community
  6. Providing opportunities in the course for sustainable and reciprocal campus-community partnerships that provide mutual benefits for the both the students and community
  7. Incorporating in the course regular opportunities for oral and written reflection on the learning components of students’ service throughout the semester
  8. Providing an opportunity for students to share the service-learning project with the community partner (e.g. end-of-the-semester oral presentations).


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