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What is Service Learning?

Service Learning is a teaching method and education experience that helps students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtful, organized service experiences that:

  • Involves students in community service that addresses local needs, while developing their academic skills, sense of civic responsibility and commitment to the community;
  • Coordinates collaboratively with the College and the community
  • Integrates into a faculty's academic curriculum and provides structured time for reflection

  • Our college and community organizations partner in a way that connects the service back to a faculty's course learning objectives
  • Students gain a better understanding of troubling situations in our society where people have demonstrated, unmet needs
Service Learning represents a substantial change from traditional lecture-driven content:
  • It provides real life, meaningful experiences which by their very nature promote critical thinking
  • Effective service learning establishes clear learning outcomes that require application of concepts, content, and skills

It's traditional course that has been integrated with on-site service hours throughout the semester.

For example, Introduction to Archaeology students went digging for history in Panama City!

Students from Gulf Coast State College's "Introduction to Archaeology" course were at the site of the former Panama and Edgewater hotels in downtown Panama City.

They were searching for historic and prehistoric items associated with either of the hotels or an earlier Native American occupation of the site. A student who was excited for the opportunity to get out into the field for the first time had this to say:

"This is excellent. This is a chance for us to get experience in our field, and I am very excited about that. It's a great opportunity for us to get in touch with history in Panama City and contribute to the knowledge of the history of Panama City," explains John Freeman, an Anthropology major at Gulf Coast State College.

The project is in cooperation between Gulf Coast State College, the Historical Society of Bay County and the Panama City Marine Institute.

Jason showing artifact Standing under a tree Students digging


Gulf Coast State College does not discriminate against any person in its programs, activities, policies or procedures on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, marital status, religion, age, gender, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability, or veteran status. All questions or inquiries regarding compliance with laws relating to non-discrimination and all complaints regarding sexual misconduct or discrimination, may be directed to Lee Wood, Executive Director, Human Resources/Title II/504/Title IX Coordinator and Employment Equity Officer, Gulf Coast State College, 5230 W. US Highway 98, Panama City, FL 32401.