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WLU Skating program

Key success factors

  • The placement model is course-based and operates on a large scale for both in-person and online courses across multiple campuses.

  • Well-established relationships with community partners ensure there are enough placements for students. Community partners generally return to the program, with some relying on the program for their operations.

  • The CSL opportunities offer a broad range of possible experiences; many integrate students with populations and experiences in which they might not otherwise participate.

Unique characteristics

  • The program employs graduate student teaching assistants to facilitate reflection sessions that help to support different modes of reflection 

  • In some cases, students will stay on as volunteers with their placement organization.  

  • Instructors teaching CSL courses for the first time are onboarded to develop their understanding of its nature and benefits. The process includes resources on how to integrate reflection into class sessions.

  • Students are encouraged to think of the placement as a weekly commitment rather than focusing on the total number of hours. They're also encouraged to make connections to their weekly course learning.  


  • It's important to remain aware of the local capacity for service learning and the needs of participating community partners.

  • It takes time to ensure consistent, high-quality placements, and to find the right placement fit for students within organizations. All of these qualities are impacted by the placement role, placement supervisor, on-boarding and orientation, and supports available to students

  • It's critical to handle the risk management aspects of the placements, including reporting for unpaid placements and documentation required by the university’s legal department.  


Student Success Stories

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Key characteristics

  • Type: Service Learning
  • Year program was established: 10+ years ago
  • Number of students per year: 500+
  • Number of employers/partners per year: 150+
  • Programs/academic disciplines participating: Psychology Majors, other disciplines can take as electives  
  • Duration of experience: Two hours per week over 10 weeks
  • Submitted by: Lisa Jarvis