Service Learning Courses
Students in the Department of Sociology and Criminology are
required to complete either a three-credit-hour internship (SO484)
or a service-learning course. Service learning courses combine
academic studies with volunteer work or service projects related to
a class topic. Service learning is an excellent way to introduce
students to sociological concepts, ideas, theories and the
sociological imagination, and to give students an opportunity to
apply these important sociological themes to real-life
Service learning courses are beneficial to both the student and
the community. Research has reported many benefits of service
learning courses for the student, including improved grades and
learning, increased civic engagement, enhanced job skills and
greater appreciation for diversity. Many community-based
organizations that students will work with in their service
learning courses include service work with disadvantaged groups and
service work focused on the amelioration of social problems.
Sociology, as a discipline, is very well situated to provide
knowledge, and the conceptual and theoretical tools for
understanding social problems and the experiences of disadvantaged
groups of people.
There are several student learning outcomes of service learning
courses as stated by Butler's Center for
Citizenship and Community. They are:
- To have an active learning experience that integrates classroom
knowledge with activities in the Indianapolis community.
- To use an experience in Indianapolis to further the individual
student's understanding of the nature of community and the
relationship between community and his or her self.
- To further students' commitment to service and ongoing
involvement as community actors.
Service learning courses that have been offered in the Sociology
and Criminology Department include:
- Gender, Race, and Crime. In this course,
students worked as mentors for individuals who had recently been
released from prison. Students also sat in on meetings to learn
about the common issues that former prisoners face in their daily
lives such as drug addiction, issues finding jobs and housing,
- Latin American Societies. In this course,
students worked through various agencies to help Latin American
Immigrants with translation needs, tutoring, and helping to fill
out forms and letters.
- AIDS and Society. In this course,
students provided service at a center in Indianapolis that provides
resources for individuals who are HIV positive or who have AIDS.
Students worked directly with persons who have HIV or AIDS and/or
their family members. The ultimate goal of the center is to empower
those with HIV or AIDS and to lead the fight for the prevention of
- Urban Community. In this course students are
exposed to urban issues through field trips, speakers and
structured opportunities involving local government agencies,
neighborhoods and community centers.
All Butler students entering in fall 2010 or later are required
to take a course that involves active engagement in the
Indianapolis community. These courses are referred to as the Indianapolis Community Requirement
(ICR). While courses that satisfy this requirement are found
throughout the curriculum, service learning courses in the
Department of Sociology and Criminology will also satisfy this
requirement. Therefore, enrolling in a service learning course
offered by the Department of Sociology and Criminology satisfies
two requirements at once (a departmental requirement as well as a
university core requirement).