You are here

Service Learning Practicum

Service learning is a teaching and learning approach that combines learning goals, meaningful community service, and reflection in ways that enhance student growth and address genuine community needs.  Through service learning, the real-world application of classroom knowledge in a community setting allows students to apply academic knowledge and skills in meaningful ways.  Students gain a deeper understanding and broader appreciation of the discipline and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility. (See: National Youth Leadership Council,

HAVC 193F: Service Learning Practicum (2 units) *PR-S GE requirement*
 • Open only to HAVC majors or minors who have Junior or Senior status.
 • You must have successfully completed at least 2 lower and 2 upper division HAVC courses with a minimum grade of B or higher. 
 • Different than an internship, a practicum involves a student directed service-learning project developed in consultation with a faculty supervisor. 

What is service learning

A service-learning project is typically designed through a collaboration between the student, faculty sponsor, and a community partner (e.g., community organization or institution, non-governmental organization, government agency, neighborhood).  The project applies academic content to community-based activities. It can take the form of an internship, but can take other forms as well.  

Examples of service-learning projects include:

• an internship at a local arts/history institution (e.g., museum, archive, library) where students can synthesize and apply their knowledge of visual studies while contributing to a community.
• working as a course assistant for an AP Art History course at a local high school.
• delivering visual studies lectures at K-12 schools, community colleges, senior centers, or after-school programs.
• organizing fieldtrips to a gallery/museum for schools or other community organizations and delivering relevant presentations and activities.
• working with the EOP Bridge Program to provide subject-related tutoring, study sessions, and peer-mentoring.
• delivering radio broadcasts on history of visual art and culture topics.

Partner Organizations

We have developed partnerships with a diversity of nonprofits, community arts organizations, museums and galleries, schools, artists, and professionals in the field. Our current collaborations in the local community include the following organizations:

Arts Council Santa Cruz
Claraty Arts Project
Mary Porter Sesnon Gallery
Pajaro Valley Arts Council and Gallery
Santa Cruz Art League
Santa Cruz City Arts
Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History
Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Spring Hill School
William Fisher Architecture

You may also contact museums, schools, professional offices, or arts organizations not on this list. You are encouraged to reach out and develop a partnership with an agency that interests you!


How to get involved

First you must find a faculty adviser to supervise your project and guide your learning throughout the quarter. When contacting a potential faculty supervisor please send them a formal email containing the following information:

• Your major and year in college.

• Specify that you would like to do a 2-unit Service Learning Practicum.

• Give a description of your proposed project and, if appropriate, the organization(s) you would like to work with.

• Offer a brief description of your coursework or other experience that has prepared you for this project.

• And finally, a sentence or two about why you think this particular faculty person is a good fit for your internship or project.

Once a faculty member agrees to sponsor your practicum, you must go to their office hours to discuss the course requirements and the details of your service-learning project. If you will be working with an organization, please contact an agency sponsor at that organization directly. Tell them of your interest in working with the organization, your ideas for a service-learning project, and ask whether or not they are interested in collabarating with you on this project.  

Once you find a faculty and agency sponsor to work with, you must then complete a 193F application. Please submit a Statement of Purpose and complete a learning contract with your faculty and agency sponsors one quarter before you plan to do the practicum. Once approved, you will be given a code to enroll for credit. 

Academic Requirements

The time commitment is 6 hours per week – usually a combination of working with a faculty sponsor to develop the project, conducting independent research and planning, and working on-site to implement the project. Students are required to meet with their faculty throughout the quarter to discuss their research and project. Students must also keep a journal and submit a final reflection paper at the end of the quarter. The service-learning project is evaluated on a pass/no pass basis. 

193F Syllabus

Apply Now

Please complete the 193F application form which requires a Statement of Purpose describing your proposed project. Applications must be submitted one quarter before you plan to do the practicum.