About CSL

Community Service-Learning (CSL) makes learning come alive. We link academic coursework to community-based experiences. Students bring their time and talents to community organizations as part of their studies, challenging them to engage with their learning in fresh new ways and to explore relationships between theory and practice.

How does CSL work?

CSL is integrated into a course through an ongoing and collaborative process. Community Partners describe their volunteer and research needs to us, and Instructors design their course projects and goals to integrate these community-based experiences into the course curriculum for students.

What are the benefits of CSL?


  • Develop personal, critical thinking, and problem solving skills as well as enhance skills in communication, collaboration, and leadership;
  • Increase understanding of course material and learn to apply course material to new situations;
  • Gain hands-on experience in the not-for-profit sector; and,
  • Learn more about social issues and their root causes.


  • An enlivened classroom, new perspectives on pedagogy, and links with community organizations;
  • Gain experience with interactive teaching methods and promote students' active learning -- fostering reciprocal learning;
  • Learn firsthand knowledge of community issues; and,
  • Discover new avenues for collaborative work and opportunities for research.


  • New insights to the energies and capabilities of students, develop existing or new projects, create a connection with the UofA community, and have the opportunity to be co-educators;
  • Gain additional human resources needed to achieve organizational goals;
  • Increase public awareness of key issues; and,
  • Identify and access other university resources.


  • Promote engaged citizenship and develop leadership skills;
  • Encourage faculty, student, and community interaction and collaboration;
  • Develop and enhance university-community relationships; and,
  • Embed discovery-learning experiences, both on campus and in the broader community.

What does the CSL Office provide for students/instructors/community partners?

The CSL Office works with you to decide if CSL is right for you, your course, or your organization, and provides the following support:

  • background information and material on CSL to help you get started;
  • modest grants to enable the development of innovative CSL courses;
  • resources and training for planning a CSL course or a CSL project;
  • 'matching' community projects and academic courses to best meet mutual objectives;
  • ongoing support throughout the semester in the form of resources, workshops, self-evaluation tools, course evaluation reports, and responding to general questions or concerns; and,
  • Payment and processing of all security clearances.