Frequently Asked Questions
|What is the purpose of the Guide?
Who is the Guide's audience?
What are the qualifications for a school’s inclusion?
|How does a college or university submit its application for inclusion?
How does a school get selected for inclusion in the Guide?
Who determines what schools are selected for inclusion?
Who is on the National Advisory Board?
Who are your partners? What are their roles?
How often will the Guide be published?
How did the initiative come about?
What is Student Horizons?
What is Beyond the Books?
What is the Center for Student Opportunity?
|What is the purpose of the Guide?
The Guide to Service-Learning Colleges & Universities is intended primarily as a tool to educate the “college bound community” about higher education service-learning, what it is and who has legitimate programs. We define the college bound community as high school students, their parents and families, high school guidance and college counselors, secondary school volunteer and service-learning coordinators both at the district and individual school level and other high school administrators, and secular and faith-based community organization youth leaders and other community teenage service mentors.
It is our goal to provide information to the college bound community concerning service-learning opportunities throughout higher education and to provide a strong tool to assist with making an informed decision about the college to attend. The guidebook and parallel website, beyondthebooks.org, will focus on the larger college bound community with a central focus on the service-oriented high school student. The resources offered will assist with showing what experience the student can gain while attending the institution, through their strong service-learning opportunities. For those without a strong knowledge of service-learning and its benefits, the resources offered would help them fully understand the opportunities and to build a strong interest in taking advantage of them.Who is the Guide's audience?
The primary audience is the college-bound community of high school students, parents, high school counselors, secondary school volunteer and service learning professionals, high school administrators, and community-based organization youth leaders and mentors.
A secondary audience is college and university service-learning professionals who will be able to learn about other service-learning programs. By including institutions that fulfill detailed selection criteria, the guide can be used as a benchmark for other institutions with programs in development.What are the qualifications for a school’s inclusion?
Our intention is to be as inclusive as possible in the selection of service-learning schools to give high school students an extremely comprehensive picture of service-learning in Higher Ed. The book is not intended to rate one program over another. Student, parent, counselor and mentor will be provided information from which to make their own determination.
A school must, however, demonstrate that it maintains a valid service-learning program as we define service-learning and qualify in the majority of criteria areas. Our comprehensive criteria were developed to achieve the most accurate results. The criteria have been compiled to create a non-judgmental description of the levels of engagement and participation across the institution.
We define service learning as:
Service-learning is a teaching method that links course-based learning objectives to community-based service activities. Students learn more by putting classroom-based knowledge into action. Service-learning is distinguished from volunteerism by the connection to course content and by attention to “reflection” activities that help students connect applied experiences to their learning.
Specific criteria includes
Each institution must complete a nomination form, in either a web-based or print-based format (see links below). The nomination form is designed to help institutions present a factual description of the scale, scope and goals for service-learning in the context of campus mission and learning goals for students.
Link to web-based Nomination Form:
Two and four year colleges and universities are selected for inclusion in The Guide to Service Learning Colleges & Universities based on the information they provide to us via nomination survey. The nomination form is compared to the selection criteria established. The survey can be submitted either online or via hard copy.Who determines what schools are selected for inclusion?
The nominating material is reviewed based on the pre-determined criteria by both the Student Horizons staff and members of our service-learning National Advisory Board.Who is on the National Advisory Board?
Our current service learning advisory committee consists of the following members:
Service Learning Coordinator
College of DuPage
Director, Center for Service Learning
Barbara Holland, Ph.D
National Service-Learning Clearinghouse
Beth Blissman, Ph.D.
Center for Service & Learning
Associate Dean, Institute for Global Citizenship
Director, Civic Engagement Center
Director, International Center for Research on Civic Engagement and Service-Learning
University of California, Berkeley
Lisa Keyne, Ph.D.
Executive Director, North Carolina Campus Compact
Dr. Paul Roodin
Professor of Psychology,
Director of Experience-Based Education
Amelia Ross-Hammond, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement
Professor of Music
Norfolk State University
Diane Podolske, Ph.D.
Director of Community University Partnerships & Service Learning
CSU San Bernardino
We are constantly adding new members of the advisory committee. Our aim is to develop a strong network of persons and achieve diverse institutional types, geographic representation, and expertise with service-learning.
If you are interested in participating, please contact:
ETR Associates (Education, Training, and Research Associates), a non-profit in California that hosts a number of resources related to service, volunteerism, and service-learning, including the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse and The Resource Center.
Center for Student Opportunity, a leading national 501(c)(3) nonprofit college access organization with 15,000 high school counselors, 1,000 college access professionals, and 8,000 college and university administrators. CSO also has strong ties with community-based organizations.
In the next quarter, Beyond the Books will focus on affiliations and partnerships with service-learning and other organizations to forge additional distribution channels to reach students and families that wish to learn about the opportunities to combine community engagement with quality academic programs through service-learning.How often will the Guide be published?
We plan to publish the book every other year, so the next edition will be published in 2009. Schools will need to re-qualify for every edition.How did the initiative come about?
The Guide to Service-Learning Colleges & Universities is an outgrowth of our new experiential website, beyondthebooks.org. The website profiles various experimental programs and initiatives at two and four year colleges and universities.
The purpose of beyondthebooks.org is to fill the need for a comprehensive database of information for future and current college students to learn about the plethora of experiential learning opportunities available, discover experiential learning opportunities that will enhance and define their educational experience, and find schools that promote and focus on experiential learning.
Beyond the Books is committed to publicizing and strengthening experiential learning programs and colleges and universities that excel in providing experiential learning opportunities.
The Service-Learning Portal is one of our major sections of the website. As the content and scope of the website was developed, we constantly reached out to professional organizations and began to interact with various colleges, secondary schools and community organizations. These conversations made it apparent that there were few resources which defined higher education service-learning and profiled the various service-learning options available on college campuses throughout the United States.What is Student Horizons?
Student Horizons, Inc. is a digital services and media company devoted to higher education. Founded by concerned parents and admissions professionals, Student Horizons, Inc.’s mission is to enable students to find colleges and universities that appeal to and complement their unique personalities and aspirations.
Its flagship initiative, Colleges of Distinction (www.CollegesofDistinction.com), profiles approximately 200 schools that excel at engaging students, providing outstanding teaching, offering vibrant communities, and producing successful outcomes, the pillars of a strong and active undergraduate education.
Student Horizons, Inc. also offers digital marketing solutions to colleges and universities through its suite of ASP applications, developed in partnership with leading technology providers. Founded in 2002, Student Horizons, Inc. is located in Bethesda, MD and has additional offices in Chicago and Southern California.What is Beyond the Books?
Beyond the Books, Student Horizons, Inc.'s newest initiative, is overseeing the development and promotion of the Guide.
Student Horizons, Inc. and Beyond the Books believe that the quality of the educational experience is enhanced by experiential learning programs. We are convinced that experiential learning is an area where many schools excel, and it is a clear differentiator that should be emphasized.
An experiential curriculum enhances and augments classroom learning and helps students develop transferable life skills that are critical for a successful life after college. The best colleges are those that use the whole campus experience—in the classroom and beyond—to promote the connection between knowledge and action.
Beyond the Books is committed to promoting experiential learning programs and colleges and universities that excel in providing experiential learning opportunities. Beyond the Books' mission is to fill the need for a comprehensive database of information about the plethora of experiential learning opportunities, making it easier for interested students to find programs that fill their individual interests. Beyond the Books is on the web at www.beyondthebooks.org. (In development at this time.)
Download Beyond the Books' Infosheet: (PDF)What is the Center for Student Opportunity?
Founded in 2004 by a group of concerned parents, admissions professionals, and nonprofit practitioners, Center for Student Opportunity is the realization of an idea put forth by the principals of Student Horizons, Inc., a communications and digital services company devoted to higher education.
An independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Center for Student Opportunity seeks to fill the need for greater college counseling and preparation resources for first-generation and other historically underserved college-bound students. Studying the national landscape of college access to first-generation and underserved populations, the principals discovered that while there are numerous local and sub-regional programs that effectively serve these populations, few if any of these organizations have the resources to expand their reach and fewer still, have the network to access many of the colleges and universities that have targeted these student populations for admission.
With this in mind, the principals founded Center for Student Opportunity with the express purpose of growing opportunities for college-bound first-generation and underserved students as a conduit in linking qualified students with leading colleges and universities.