Connecting Students and Society
Learning, Reflecting, Engaging
On Tuesday 13 December 2016 a workshop on ‘community service learning’ took place.
Higher education in the 21st century has increasingly been offering a broad education that imparts to the students a widespread knowledge and skillset, and trains them foremost to become critical and committed individuals. This requires that universities and colleges travel outside the classroom. Service learning connects education, research and service and encourages students to engage as active citizens from out of their discipline, to test new academic content in social learning contexts and to link this learning back to their own personal lives.
This pedagogy is successfully established in academic institutions in the United States and Latin America. In order to introduce and encourage it in Europe and Flanders, UCSIA organized a workshop on the topic together with the departments of Environment (Ecocampus) and Education & Training of the Flemish Government and partners at the universities of Antwerp, Ghent and Leuven. A colourful array of national and international testimonials and experiences provided inspiration and guidance to academics, teaching staff, student representatives and policy makers from universities and colleges and educational governance.
In a concluding panel discussion, every Flemish university confirmed through its Vice Rector that they will take the path of service learning or will powerfully and systematically commit to following the steps that are already in place. The networking paid off; here and there agendas and planners were taken up and appointments were made across institutional borders.