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One Credit Service Learning Courses as Education toward Equity

University PhotographerPresenter: Kyle Lantz

Institution: University of Notre Dame

Professional Title: Assistant Director, Social Concerns Seminars

Kyle Lantz serves as assistant director of the Social Concerns Seminars Program. Kyle joined the staff in September of 2013 and works closely with the director of Seminars in the coordination, administration, and teaching of one credit courses that typically surround an immersion experience. Prior to joining the Center, Kyle served as a resident program director for Taylor’s Irish Studies Program in Greystones, Ireland. After that, he served on the Residence Life Staff at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash. for two years. His interests and experience include college student development, reconciliation, community development, cross-cultural learning and engagement, and experiential learning.



Service-learning is considered a high impact engagement opportunity for college students (Kuh, Kinzie, Schuh, Whitt, 2010) and students seek these experiences for a variety of reasons – willingness to serve, eagerness to learn about systems of injustice, even a desire to strengthen their resume. This session will explore one model at the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns that utilizes credit bearing service- and community based- learning courses to engage students in educational opportunities which develop their equity and justice orientation. Over 800 students participate in these seminars each year – 6-8 classroom sessions situated around a weeklong experiential immersion which focus on issues of social concern (i.e. immigration, poverty, energy and climate policy, health care, etc.). These seminars utilize a framework that values Catholic social teaching, mutually beneficial learning, strong community partnerships, group formation/reflection, and synthesis into student’s academic and vocational development. The history, philosophy, and assessment of this seminar model will be explored with hopes of finding relevant best practices for attendees to apply at their home institution.

Learning Outcomes:

  • understand the history, philosophy, and outworking of this educational immersion model and the ways it educates students toward equity and justice
  • see course syllabi, learning outcomes, relevant assessment data and consider how to apply Notre Dame’s model to their own campus
  • think about a pedagogy of engaged learning that can be extremely valuable for the student learning experience