Reflective Service Learning (RSL)

Welcome to Reflective Service Learning, A Distinctive Eckerd College General Education Requirement

Academic RSL


Tips & Tricks


Steps in Planning

RSL Proposal

Learning Outcomes & Prompts

Recommended Sites

Log Sheet

Contact Information

Patti Cooksey
Director of General Education

Serve, Reflect, Learn

Rooted in the mission of Eckerd College and the goals of the General Education Program, the Reflective Service-Learning (RSL) experience aims to help students understand their roles and responsibilities as engaged global citizens. The program encourages students to engage in service early on and throughout their tenure at Eckerd, while also emphasizing service-learning connected to their academic and professional pursuits.

Beyond volunteering: Reflective service-learning

Reflective Service-Learning, as defined by Eckerd's General Education program, is: a carefully monitored service experience in which a student (a) has intentional learning goals, (b) critically reflects on what is learned throughout the experience in such a way as to lead to academic enhancement, civic learning and personal growth, (c) addresses community or global issues and (d) develops an understanding of their roles and responsibilities as engaged citizens.

In contrast to volunteering or community service, reflective service-learning emphasizes the connection between meaningful service and transformative learning. Participants combine practical experience with reflection, leading to an understanding of the social, political, and economic issues at play in their service project. Furthermore, service-learning moves beyond charity, paying attention to deeper matters of justice and community enrichment. Service-learning is rooted in principles of reciprocity and mutual empowerment, where all participants-students, faculty, and community-benefit, learn, and evolve.

Many PEL students may already be involved in serving as volunteers in work-related programs or in community programs of interest. The Eckerd College Reflective Service Learning component will offer such students an opportunity to continue serving in those areas while integrating their volunteer service into an academic Reflective Service Learning project through critical reflecting and writing.