Service Learning

Honors education often celebrates leadership, especially when leadership through service projects. By the century’s turn, service learning had become a national movement in college education. Already honors students at Iowa have contributed one of its major inventions, generating the 10,000 Hours Show as a device for motivating many students to volunteer community service in small amounts that can cumulate into important effects. For service to become service learning, though, there needs to be academically informed reflection on the experience.


Honors students may earn experiential credit for service learning through two distinct registrations: (1) the experiential learning course PHIL:3920 Philosophy in Public or (2) the independent study course HONR:3150 Honors Service Learning

For PHIL:3920 Philosophy in Public, the experiential learning course, students enroll in the course, PHIL:3920, and participate in a community internship, volunteer activity, or UI student group and write short weekly reflections that connect the activity with their larger personal, professional, and/or community aims.  Each week students read a single text -- an article from a newspaper or blog, a video podcast, or an excerpt from a piece of philosophy -- and then write a response informed by the piece and their service. Honors students earn honors experiential learning credit for the course.

While offered by the Philosophy department, Phil:3920 is designed for a wide variety of service experiences and is a popular option.

For HONR:3150 Honors Service Learning, the independent study course, students need to:

    1. Approach an instructor and request they serve as your mentor/guide for a service learning project*
    2. Working with your instructor and volunteer supervisor/organization, develop:
      1. A description of what you will be doing as a volunteer
      2. How many hours per week you will be volunteering
      3. A reflective piece (we encourage journaling or blogging)
      4. A further learning piece (readings on the company, field, nonprofits, etc. as appropriate)
      5. Discussions/meetings on a semi-regular basis with your instructor
    3. Enroll in HONR:3150 Honors Service Learning and complete the Honors Service Learning Form

    HONR:3150 is the best option if you have a preference for a specific faculty member or department to provide the academic component of the experience. You choose your mentor/guide and design the course together.

    *Your instructor must have faculty status at the University of Iowa. If your instructor is not listed in MyUI email with their name and department and we will notify you when they've been added.​​​

    All projects must be approved by the instructor and the Honors Program. See the form for further instructions.

    Some good places to look are: