Academically Based Service-Learning

Calvin faculty with students

Connecting theory & practice

Evaluate your ABSL Experience!

Faculty members in almost every department at Calvin College integrate Academically-Based Service-Learning (ABSL) with the content of courses. These courses include relevant activities that provide a connection between theory and practice. By incorporating appropriate service experiences into our coursework, we seek to better understand how we can serve God in our chosen professions. ABSL courses are offered in a variety of disciplines from computer science to English to economics.

Explore ABSL

Why incorporate ABSL into classes?

We see ABSL as a strategy that will enrich faculty teaching and enhance a student's learning. It is not a replacement for traditional modes of classroom teaching, and it is not, of course, appropriate for every course and every professor. Nonetheless, ABSL is one more strategy to make a course more effective. Service-learning provides concrete experiences related to the themes and aims of a course along with opportunities for reflection and discussion. Students' thinking, as well as their lives, can be transformed. And all of this is intricately woven into the understanding of the Christian life that informs the mission of Calvin.

Academically-based service-learning takes into consideration a variety of learning styles. It appeals especially to students who are more experientially oriented, but those students with an analytical bent also benefit from opportunities to test theories via active experimentation and reflection. Thus ABSL is another vehicle for attending to diverse gifts and approaches to learning. Furthermore, ABSL gets beyond the walls of the classroom and outside the comfort zone of our campus and our community.