The U of A Faculty of Arts CSL Program began as a pilot project in Autumn 2003 comprised of existing service-learning activities in departments such as Drama, Psychology, and Pharmacy. In its first year, the program included 3 sociology courses, 8 community organizations, and 40 students. The pilot created a network of interest and support and a unique partnership with the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations.

In December 2004 the University of Alberta successfully submitted a proposal to the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation detailing a comprehensive five-year plan for expanding the Community Service-Learning Program. 

With the continuing support of the Faculty of Arts and the University of Alberta, the second phase of the CSL Program is well underway. Current activities include courses in 9 other Faculties. In 2007, the Augustana Campus began to develop extensive CSL activities as part of the Learning, Advising + Beyond initiative.

The CSL Program continues to expand and grow. By 2015 the CSL Program was facilitating partnerships between more than 75 courses and 180 community partners that provided community-based opportunities for over 1500 students.