Service-Learning Course Policy

Courses that are designated as service learning serve a unique purpose in the Sociology curriculum. Courses that *require* students to complete volunteering, community based research, or action research must be designated by the department as service learning in advance of the semester in which the course will be offered and prior to the first student registration period. It is understood that some classes will allow students the option of volunteering as part of course requirements. Classes with an optional service requirement are not included as service learning courses. 

I. Service Learning Course Approval Process

New service learning courses, including special topics courses (SOCI 488), must be approved by the Sociology Department Curriculum Committee. Proposals must be submitted to the department two semesters in advance of the semester in which the course will be taught. 

II. Service Learning Course Guidelines

  1. Participation in service-learning is required for all members of the course. 
  2. Service-learning is centered on curricular content. 
  3. Service-learning supports the students’ learning and addresses an expressed community need.
  4. Participation in service learning is a core component of the course.
  5. Detailed descriptions of service-learning topics, activities and requirements are to be made available to students in advance of registration. Course outlines posted on the department’s web site must include a description of the type of service required and activities that will be expected of students. 
  6. Service-learning topics, activities and requirements are described in the course syllabus. 
  7. Faculty shall provide structured activities for critical reflection linking the service and academic study. 
  8. Service-learning courses shall be different from an internship, field experience, practicum, or volunteer activity, unless these experiences meet the above criteria. 
  9. Students in service-learning courses shall be evaluated on the basis of their ability to draw analytic connections between the service-learning and course content, not only on completion of service. 
  10. Service-learning courses are only offered on a graded basis. 

III. Currently Designated Service-Learning Courses (4 units) 

  • SOCI 336 (Investigative Sociology) 
  • SOCI 460 (Social Work in the Social World) 
  • SOCI 482 (Environmental Justice and Policy) 
  • SOCI 488 (Selected Topics in Service Learning) 

Department of Sociology
Sonoma State University
Interim Policy approved April 30, 2009; Revised July 2010 to reflect Fall 2010 implementation of Sociological Experience Requirement and related courses; course list updated January 2017, June 2021