Exterior view of Student Resource Center

About Service Learning

The five components of successful service learning are Investigate, Prepare, Act, Reflect, and Demonstrate (IPARD). 


Research the community and the organization you want to serve. Ask yourself: What is the cause of these barriers?


Identify objectives and goals for the experience.


Complete the service work that is required to meet and exceed your goals.


Actively think about your experience after each service. Share your reflection with friends, peers, and faculty.


Apply your knowledge by creating a final project, or presentation or share your experiences and the impact that is made.  

History of Service Learning at COD

The term Service Learning wasn't formally adopted at College of DuPage until 1996, although this type of hands-on learning was in full swing two decades earlier. In the late 1970s, College of DuPage students successfully renovated a house in Chicago. Soon after, service-related projects started to become an important learning tool for many of the college's sociology and humanities courses.

It wasn't until 1996, however, that this experiential method of learning was formally identified as "service learning" by the college. To assist faculty members with the process of integrating service learning projects into their course curriculums, the college then formed a Service Learning Committee. In addition, the college applied for and received a "Bridges to Healthy Communities" grant from the American Association of Community Colleges and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This four-year grant and partnership laid the foundation for a strong working relationship with the DuPage County Health Department, which the college continues to foster and maintain today.

In 1998, College of DuPage provided the Service Learning program with a grant from its Major Institutional Initiative fund. This grant has been used to increase service learning opportunities at the college and has also assisted with:

  • The renovation and provision of office space for the program in the Career Services Center.
  • Continued promotion of service learning projects to select faculty groups.
  • Further study of methods for supporting service learning proposals outlined by faculty members.

The Center for Service Learning was established in 2000 with a three-year grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. The center was established to introduce the service learning teaching methodology to College of DuPage faculty and to serve as the focal point for providing classroom-based community service opportunities for students. Because of its success, the center became an official part of College of DuPage on Sept. 1, 2003.