Engaged Learning: Student Information

This page provides helpful information for students about the Engaged Learning requirements for graduation.

Download the approved classes list (PDF)

Forms of Engaged Learning
Students in the Drury Core: Engaging Our World must earn credit for two Engaged Learning experiences, to be completed in any of the following categories:          

Students may complete the requirement by participating in two experiences in the same category or from one experience in two different categories.

Study Abroad as Engaged Learning

How Students Register
To register for Engaged Learning credit, all students who study abroad will sign up for PDEV 205: Study Abroad (0 c.h.), to be taken simultaneously with the course(s) in their Study Abroad program.  PDEV 205 requires students to complete a reflective component that demonstrates the impact of their experiences as a form of Engaged Learning.

How International Students May Earn Engaged Learning Credit
With permission from their advisors, International students may earn Engaged Learning credit for their studies in the United States by registering for and completing one of the following courses: MGMT 205, 206, 207, 208, or PDEV 205. In consultation with an advisor, students will complete a reflective component where they write meaningfully about their experiences as an international student in the U.S.  Some departments, but not all, accept this work as fulfilling the study abroad requirement within the major. Students should check with their advisors before pursuing this option.

Internship as Engaged Learning

An internship is supervised real-world experience related to a student’s major or area of career interest. Students seeking to receive academic credit must meet specific requirements and appropriate deadlines prior to beginning the experience.  It is best to start the process of securing an internship at least one semester before you plan to receive credit; some competitive positions require you to begin even sooner. 

As part of students’ internship, they will complete a reflective component where they demonstrate the impact their experiences as a form of Engaged Learning.  You will turn the reflective component in to your faculty sponsor who oversees the academic side of your internship.

For more information about registering for internship visit: http://www.drury.edu/career/.  Students are encouraged to contact Career Planning and Development with any questions about internships. 

Research and Scholarship as Engaged Learning

Research and Scholarship Defined
Students complete a research or scholarly project appropriate to their field, often as a capstone experience, where they show mastery within that discipline (typically but not always in the student’s major field of study).  These projects can take a wide variety of forms.  In the Natural and Social Sciences, students might do experimental research; in the Humanities and Fine Arts, students might do original research or complete a creative project (performance, exhibit, recital, reading).

How Students Register
Students register for the course as listed in the Schedule of Courses or as a directed  study.

Curricular Service-Learning as Engaged Learning (service learning in the classroom)

Curricular Service-Learning Defined
Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Service-learning courses cover a broad range of experiences. They can address issues in education, the environment, race, poverty, politics, the built environment, and so on. They can extend access to goods and services, from access to clean water to access to literacy and the arts.

Examples of Service-Learning Courses (with a reflective component):

  • A marketing class partners with a local not-for-profit to develop marketing strategies for a key fundraising event.
  • A web design course splits into groups and each team of students partners with a different community agency to overhaul their websites and increase their social media presence.
  • A criminology class partners with the Juvenile Justice Department and Rare Breed to research the rise in teen homelessness in Springfield. They present their findings and recommendations to the City Council.
  • Accounting students prepare taxes for VITA to help low-income individuals receive the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Environmental Science students do water testing for the Jordan Valley River Basin and identify possible causes of pollution.
  • Chemistry lab students partner with Urban Neighborhood Alliance to do lead and toxin testing in low-income homes.

How to Register

Please review the list of approved classes prior to registration.


Co-Curricular Service-Learning (service learning outside the classroom)

The CORE Council will consider proposals from students for any co-curricular experience that qualifies as service-learning: one that gives students a significant opportunity for serving an organization or community in a socially responsible way. The experience should promote active citizenship – work that benefits the welfare of the community – at Drury or in the world. Service-learning enhances the community or organization through the service provided and fosters powerful student learning through reflection.

This is not about the position students hold; it is about students having a transformative experience and demonstrating what they have learned and how the community has benefitted from their work.

  1. Criteria for a co-curricular service-learning experience to qualify for an Engaged Learning graduation requirement.
  2. Process to apply for Engaged Learning credit
  3. Online Proposal Form (to be completed prior to starting the experience)
  4. Online Reflection Form (to be completed after the experience concludes)
  5. Benefits of service-learning

On-Campus Co-Curricular Community Engagement Activities
Students may also seek approval for on-campus experiences to count toward Service-Learning. When students carry out leadership responsibilities with SUB, SGA, SIFE, SAC, or other on-campus organizations, they perform a valuable service to the Drury community. If, in the process of carrying out these responsibilities, they also reflect meaningfully on the leadership and professional abilities they developed, and show how their efforts had a positive impact on the campus community, they will have fulfilled the criteria of Engaged Learning. In this way, students are encouraged to take an active role in their organizations and just as importantly, to reflect meaningfully upon how the work of their organization can evolve to address campus needs.

Criteria: Co-Curricular Service-Learning activities will

  • address a need with the community or organization that the student serves
  • involve students in active citizenship and social responsibility
  • develop a mutually beneficial relationship in the community (e.g. a non-profit, a public service agency, a faith community, or an organization affiliated with Drury itself).
In addition, the participating student will
  • demonstrate a prolonged commitment (minimum one academic year) or invest a substantial amount of time (30 hours or more)
  • effectively carry out their defined responsibilities in the service of a community or organization where they play an active role
  • demonstrate significant engagement working with peers, staff, faculty, or the larger community
  • complete a reflective component that addresses the value of their work in relationship to their organization and its goals and partnerships.

Process for applying for Co-Curricular Service-Learning

  1. Complete and submit the online Co-Curricular Service-Learning Proposal PRIOR to the beginning of the service-learning experience (students who begin the experience before seeking approval must see Dr. Peter Meidlinger, the Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Studies, for permission to apply for Engaged Learning credit).

  2. Print the email that is automatically sent to you once you have submitted the proposal and make an appointment with the Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Peter Meidlinger in Burnham Hall 200,   pmeidlin@drury.edu

  3. The Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Studies will sign and give you the Special Coursework – Directed Study enrollment form, and you will need to get it signed by your Academic Advisor.

  4. Turn the Special Coursework form in to the Registrar’s office to register for zero-credit hour PDEV 260 Service-Learning.

  5. Upon completion of the service-learning experience, complete the Online Reflection Form.  This form is due by November 1st (for students registering for Engaged Learning in the Fall) or April 8th (for students registering in the Spring) unless students have made other arrangements.

  6. At the end of the semester, an S/U grade will be submitted.
What Co-Curricular Service-Learning Looks Like
When students collect trash out of an urban streambed, they provide a valuable volunteer service to the community. If students collect trash from an urban streambed, analyze their findings to determine the possible sources of pollution, and share the results with residents of the neighborhood, they are engaging in service-learning. Authentic service-learning experiences, while endlessly diverse, have some common characteristics:
  • They are positive, meaningful and real to the participants.
  • They involve cooperative experiences and thus promote skills associated with teamwork and community involvement and citizenship.
  • They address complex problems in complex settings rather than simplified problems in isolation.
  • They offer opportunities to engage in problem-solving by requiring participants to gain knowledge of the specific context of their service-learning activity and community challenges, rather than only to draw upon generalized or abstract knowledge such as might come from a textbook. As a result, service-learning offers powerful opportunities to acquire the habits of critical thinking; i.e. the ability to identify the most important questions or issues within a real-world situation.
  • They promote deeper learning because the results are immediate and uncontrived. There are no "right answers" in the back of the book.
  • As a consequence of this immediacy of experience, service-learning is more likely to be personally meaningful to participants and to generate emotional consequences, to challenge values as well as ideas, and hence to support social, emotional and cognitive learning and development.
Service-Learning is not:
  • An episodic volunteer program
  • Logging a set number of community service hours in order to graduate
  • Compensatory service assigned as punishment by the courts or school administrators
  • One-sided: benefiting only students or only the community

The benefits of service-learning:

  • Enhance academic learning through real world experiences and application
  • Increase understanding of community issues and consider possible solutions
  • Explore career options and strengthen resume
  • Develop leadership and communication skills
  • Gain exposure to diverse communities
  • Connect service to social responsibility