Community Engagement

University of Northern Iowa - Community Engagement

Course Designation

The University of Northern Iowa’s Initiative - Enhancing Service-Learning at UNI - allows faculty/instructors to designate their courses as a service-learning course. The service-learning (SL) designation allows students to intentionally seek out courses that include a high-impact practice. High-impact educational practices have been proven to be significantly beneficial for students of all backgrounds.  

Information to Consider When Applying for the SL Designation

Prior to applying for the service-learning designation, faculty/instructors are encouraged to review:

Application for Service-Learning Course Designation

The service-learning course designation requires:

  • Click here for the application. Please review the PDF of the application to prepare your answers. 

  • Please attach the course syllabus and any assignment instructions, guidelines, and other information about your course/project that supports the service-learning component. 

Application Due Date

Applications can be submitted at any time.

Final Deadline for Fall 2022 is Friday, February 11th, 2022.


Individual consultations may be scheduled to discuss community partner possibilities, project ideas, syllabus design, or other questions/concerns. Please contact Julianne Gassman ( to schedule an appointment.


Frequently Asked Questions

Question #1: What is meant by service-learning activities as written in #1 of the definition about critical thinking and professional communication skills?

Answer: Service-learning classes can include a variety of activities. The entire class can participate in one activity such as organize an event for a local nonprofit organization or doing a river clean-up. Activities can also be different for each student or group of students. Service-learning activities can include live-client projects common in the College of Business. Service-learning can be project-based. Also, see types of service-learning for more ideas.

Question #2: What do you mean by community?

Answer: Community applies to both the local community as well as the global community.

Question #3: How do I align activities in my class with community strengths and needs?

Answer: Faculty and staff are encouraged to consult with their community partner(s) prior to, or as part of the project/activity development. The activities and/or projects should be mutually defined by both the community and university partners and be mutually beneficial to both enhance student learning and contribute to the betterment of the community.

Question #4: What types of activities, discussion or assignments could address #7 of the definition about engaging with diverse populations in diverse settings?

    Answer: This criterion could be addressed in an assignment, a class discussion, or be a major component of the class. Issues of diversity and inclusion can be broadly applied across all disciplines. Examples include:

    • How does the service-learning activity address stereotypes?
    • When designing a website, discuss who has access to the information, who doesn’t, did you provide closed captioning, why or why not?
    • For a trash clean-up service project, discuss waste as it relates to poverty and wealth.  
    • A project that includes removing invasive species from parks might include an assignment or discussion on how non-native species can cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.


    Should you have further inquiries about the service-learning designation review or designation process, please contact Dr. Julianne Gassman at or 319-273-2204.

    Additional Resources

    These links contain great activities, information, and research that you can use with your students and/or may work well as you address the development of civic agency into courses.