ASL vs. Community Service

While academic service learning shares some qualities with community service and experiential learning, it is important to realize that it is not the same thing. Community service focuses on the community. It does not focus on the learning process. Experiential learning, on the other hand, focuses on the learning and academic goals of the student (Giddings, 2003) with a goal of assisting community as part of the process. Academic service learning links community service with specific academic goals and course objectives.

But like community service, some benefits to organizations who participate in successful academic service learning projects might include:

  • access to additional resources
  • positive relationship opportunities with the university
  • opportunities to contribute to the educational process
  • affordable access to professional development
  • short- and long-term solutions to pressing community needs.

Community members who are interested in being a part of Northern Michigan University's academic service learning program, should contact the Center for Student Enrichment at or 906-227-1089. We look forward to building a partnership that promotes excellent learning while solving community problems and needs.