Engaged-Learning and the NC State Land-Grant Mission

Engaged-Learning and the NC State Land-Grant Mission

“As a research-extensive land-grant university, North Carolina State University is dedicated to excellent teaching, the creation and application of knowledge, and engagement with public and private partners. By uniting our strength in science and technology with a commitment to excellence in a comprehensive range of disciplines, NC State promotes an integrated approach to problem solving that transforms lives and provides leadership for social, economic, and technological development across North Carolina and around the world.”

“NC State continues to uphold the mission of land-grant universities established a century and a half ago, serving the state of North Carolina through innovation, research and extension.”

Chancellor Randy Woodson


One form of Engaged-Learning at NC State is Service-Learning. Service-Learning provides students and faculty the opportunity to live into the land grant mission of the university, give back to the community, and learn in the process.

Definition of Service-Learning:

Bringle & Hatcher’s (1995) definition of academic service-learning:

A “course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline and an enhanced sense of personal values and civic responsibility.”

Service-Learning Examples on Campus:

  • PRT 358: Recreation Program Planning - Dr. Annette Moore

The ultimate goal of the recreation and park profession is to improve the quality of life for the people and communities we serve. We often do this by providing programs for people. It is important for the student to realize the breadth of recreation program possibilities and to be able to analyze and apply the program planning principles to deliver services in a variety of recreation settings. As a full-immersion service-learning course, PRT 358 is designed to provide knowledge and tools to enable the student to achieve the above objectives. For many students, this should be one of the most valuable courses in the entire PRT curriculum.

“It’s not just an academic process, or even a professional process. Now were serving real people and we are making a difference in their lives.”

Dr. Annette Moore
  • NTR 420: Applied Nutrition Education - Dr. Natalie Cooke

Service-Learning in Action!

“It’s not about going in and helping people. It’s about this mutual learning. You learn just as much from the participants as they learn from you.”

Dr. Natalie Cooke

In this service-learning course, students will develop nutrition education, lesson planning, conflict management, and knife safety skills through implementation of a nutrition education course in a community-based setting. Students will team-teach the nutrition education course at an established community partner location, gaining experience collaborating with nonprofit organizations to teach the clients they serve. Through critical reflection assignments and discussions, students will set goals to improve teaching, honing nutrition education and communication skills.

Further Research

The Caldwell Fellows Program

The Caldwell Fellows Program develops the next generation of self-aware, globally-minded humans that engage in creative, conscientious leadership.

Service-learning is a pillar of the Caldwell Fellows program. It involves a greater level of intention and reflection than service alone, and more civic engagement than a strictly academic learning experience. Rather than “fixing” or “helping”, service-learning empowers a community to evaluate their own needs and facilitates autonomous progress. Those serving gain new perspectives, and grow through thoughtful reflection on their experiences. The Caldwell Fellows 3-credit sophomore seminar is the program's deep immersion into the theory and practice of “servant-leadership.” Service-learning is the “lab” experience to the academic work of the course. Sophomores spend 2 to 3 hours weekly in a structured service-learning experience.

When most people think of Habitat, they think of building houses. However, this Caldwell service-learning team works closer to the root of the problem, gathering data and creating maps to advocate for affordable housing in North Carolina. Stephen Paul says that working in this team has challenged his view of service: although they are “separated from the instant gratification” of building, they “have a chance to make a wider impact” compared to constructing one house. The maps created by students will be used to inform our politicians and push for policy changes to make housing more affordable and accessible.

NC State Engaged-Learning Development and Expansion

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