Becoming a Duke service-learning partner

Service-learning is an exciting, hands-on approach to education in which community agencies partner with Duke faculty members. Together, they arrange service projects and experiences that meet the educational goals of a course as well as providing a needed service in the community.

Through service-learning courses, Duke students have tutored and mentored children, interacted with patients and elders, conducted research, developed curricula, built houses, designed devices for the disabled, staged chemistry demonstrations, tested water quality, and produced documentaries.

Because service-learning placements are tied to a course and monitored by faculty members, student “volunteers” tend to be highly reliable and motivated. In addition, Service-Learning staff members are available to help identify appropriate semester-long activities, offer advice, and act as a liaison when appropriate.

Duke Service-Learning endorses the Principles of Good Community-Campus Partnerships developed by Community-Campus Partnerships for Heath (CCPH).

If you are interested in a service-learning partnership with Duke faculty and students, .

New opportunities for service-learning partnerships are limited, but every semester a small number of faculty members ask us to help them identify new community partners for their service-learning courses. We would be happy to circulate information about your organization.

Other opportunities at Duke

For general information about recruiting Duke students as volunteers (not necessarily in a service-learning context), submit an opportunity through Duke's Community Service Center.

The Community Service Center office can work with your staff to locate volunteers, help you become a community-based employer in the federal work-study program, and assist you in becoming better known to the Duke community.

Service-learning partners

Alison Hester teaches at Endeavor Charter School, a community partner with the Chemistry Outreach course.

    • alison hester

A Great Partnership

One of Service-Learning’s most popular courses is Chemistry Outreach: Sharing Chemistry with the Community. Professor Ken Lyle and his students reach hundreds of K-12 students and families each semester with their highly entertaining presentations.

One of Lyle’s community partners who especially values the chemistry presentations is Endeavor Charter School in Wake Forest, NC. Alison Hester, second grade reading, math and science teacher has been the liaison and is herself one of Chemistry Outreach’s biggest fans. In turn, Professor Lyle has grown to value the partnership, nominating Ms. Hester for Service-Learning’s Betsy Alden Outstanding Service-Learning Award for her outstanding commitment to the ideals of service-learning.

“I am so thankful for our relationship with Dr. Lyle and his Chemistry Outreach program for many reasons,” says Hester. “It is so wonderful to see second graders learning from college teachers and students in a fun and meaningful way. Dr. Lyle does a fantastic job of relating our curriculum to these kids and bringing in fun experiments so that these goals really come to life,” she adds.

“I love partnering with this program because I can teach the basics of a chemistry topic and Dr. Lyle and his crew can come in and take the kid's knowledge one step further. I also love opening students' eyes to the possibility of science in their future. Working with Dr. Lyle and Duke students opens these kids' minds to the possibility of studying science as they get older and possibly as a career choice,” she says.

“It has been so rewarding to earn the Betsy Alden award! I count it a blessing to have such a wonderful relationship with Duke University because of how much it impacts my students. The award has also been a blessing because I can use the gift money to go to some professional development. With budgets being very tight, this is a huge help for me to further my teaching and the impact I make on students!”

    • joanna welborn SAF

We've been fortunate to have worked with Duke Service-Learning almost since its beginning. In the last two years, we have been particularly thrilled with the compelling courses created by the faculty and the engaged participation we saw from students in learning about farmworker issues. And the final projects that the students produced were really outstanding.

We couldn't be happier with the way these partnerships have worked and are looking forward to many more!

Joanna Welborn, Assistant Director, Student Action with Farmworkers