Student Learning Outcomes

Civic Capacities and Learning Outcomes for Service Learning

Nurturing a campus climate of civic learning, responsibility, and engagement requires strategic creation of service learning courses, which, through planned teaching, research, service, and institutional architecture, will enable students to acquire a suite of knowledge, skills, and values necessary for them to be collectively-active and -involved citizens (Campus Compact, 2012).

Intentionally identified as San Diego State University’s roadmap for a civic-minded campus (adapted from A Crucible Moment, National Taskforce on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, 2012, p. 15), the following six Civic Capacities (CCs) and respective Student Civic Learning Outcomes (SCLOs) should be integrated within Service Learning courses, in order to exhibit the full scope of civic dimensions supporting civic learning and democratic engagement: 

    1. Civic Ethos
    2. Civic Literacy
    3. Civic Inquiry
    4. Civic Action
    5. Civic Leadership
    6. Civic Partnership 

1. Civic Ethos

How well does the course help students develop civic competencies and civic habits, both locally and globally? These competencies and habits include the demonstration of civil public argument and civic imagination. They also include the capacities and curiosity to listen, develop interest in and knowledge of local and global interdependencies, and the ability to work with others different from themselves on public problems in ways that deepen appreciation of others’ talents. 

Student Civic Learning Outcomes

    1. Infuse civic values into the customs and habits of everyday practices, structures and interactions
    2. Emphasize the character of open-mindedness, civility, the worth of each person, ethical behaviors, and concern for the wellbeing of others
    3. Promote a spirit of public-mindedness that influences civic engagement with local and global communities
    4. Create structures that generate a more porous and interactive flow of knowledge between campus and community

2. Civic Literacy

How well does the course help students develop the ability to critically evaluate arguments and information relating to civil public argument and community significance? These competencies include the demonstration of comprehensive knowledge about local and global community affairs through information and communication technology.

Student Civic Learning Outcomes

    1. Cultivate foundational knowledge about fundamental principles and debates regarding civic practices and affairs, both within the U.S. and in other countries
    2. Develop familiarity with key historical struggles, campaigns, and social movements that have influenced civic argument and civic imagination
    3. Instill the ability to think critically about complex issues and to seek and evaluate information about issues that have public consequences
    4. Analyze communication systems in order to plan and engage in public action


Are students in the course given multiple opportunities to do the work of civic engagement and civic contribution through real local and international projects of impact and relevance? How are the service opportunities linked to their academic learning?

Student Civic Learning Outcomes

    1. Apply the practice of inquiring about the civic dimensions and public consequences of the subject of study
    2. Explore the impact of choices on different constituencies and entities, both locally and globally 
    3. Deliberate consideration of differing points of views 
    4. Describe and analyze civic intellectual debates within the major or area of study

4. Civic Action

How does the course provide opportunities for community and civic engagement and integration in local and international contexts? Do these activities include participation in community campaigns and/or other change-oriented societal activities? 

Student Civic Learning Outcomes

    1. Demonstrate the capacity and commitment to participate constructively with diverse others
    2. Work collectively to address common societal problems
    3. Practice working in a pluralistic society and world to improve the quality of people’s lives and the sustainability of the planet
    4. Develop moral and political courage to take risks to achieve a greater public good

5. Civic Leadership

How will the course prepare our future leaders — to integrate civic learning and applications into their personal and professional goals? To what extent does the course include a regular time and place for reflection about how such experiences might shape student’ view of the world and their future careers and life work?

Student Civic Learning Outcomes

    1. Promote awareness that civic engagement is an essential part of social leadership
    2. Emphasize the role of leadership in making improvements to the physical and human condition of community/neighborhood residents
    3. Provide solutions that have significant impact on the community’s improvement agenda
    4. Identify leadership successes and failures, build on success, analyze the causes of failure

6. Civic Partnership

How will the course help students develop new ideas, which they can contribute — document, execute and present, to SDSU and the service learning organizations/sites? How will our U.S. and global civic partner(s) provide long-term, positive experiences that link with our campus? To what extent have we improved the condition of the communities surrounding our campus?

Student Civic Learning Outcomes

    1. Create and sustain long-term partnerships with communities and civic bodies
    2. Develop partnerships which reflect the campus’ commitments to community building and civic vitality
    3. Integrate community experience into the learning of students through professional service opportunities that provide public forums for the dissemination of scholarly work
    4. Improve the condition of the communities surrounding our campuses