Applied and service-learning offers a continuum of possibilities ranging from a one-time day experience, to working with the same organization over the course of a semester. Nevertheless, a project should achieve two goals. The first goal, the project should advance the work of the community partner. The second goal, the project needs to connect to the course’s specific learning objectives. Therefore, the community partner and the SMC instructor need to work together to design a project that aligns with both goals. In some cases, the Applied and Service-Learning Coordinator may fill in for the SMC instructor and work with the community partner to design a project that aligns with both the goals of the organization and the instructor.

When designing a project together, it is important to keep in mind other essential factors such as:

  • Is the project specific?
  • Are students able to complete the project during one semester?
  • What skills/knowledge are needed to complete the project?
  • What type of training is needed in order to begin and complete the project
  • How many students are required to complete the project?
  • What is the most number of students able to work at once?
  • Who at the organization will be assigned to supervise and coordinate the project?
  • How will the project be evaluated?
  • Is the project sustainable?

The following are examples of applied learning projects divided into general disciplines:

DisciplineApplied and Service-​Learning Project Ideas
Accounting/Business/Economics
  • Develop an accounting system for a community partner
  • Provide instructions on personal finance to residents in a home-care facility
  • Assist high school students preparing for college expenses
  • Assist elderly or low-income based citizens with tax preparation
  • Conduct workshops on how to start a business
  • Create marketing materials for an organization
Anthropology
  • Conduct oral histories of a particular group of people
  • Prepare displays at local public schools or libraries related to the community history
Archeology
  • Catalog artifacts for a local museum
Arts/Music
  • Teach art techniques to students a local school
  • Offer music lessons to an after school program
  • Design a mural for the community to enjoy
  • Develop short theatre presentations and/or musical performances for local schools
  • Design brochures, logos, or other materials for an organization
Computer Science
  • Teach computer skills workshops to members of the local library/senior center
  • Design a website for a non-profit
  • Develop a database or electronic forms for a social service agency
Education
  • Develop a tutoring services program
  • Organize a book-drive for children libraries, then help them develop a reading program for children
English
  • Interview and write oral biographies of a particular group of people
  • Assist agencies with writing clear and concise grant proposals
  • Create the promotional materials for an organization
  • Assist high school students working on the college application essay
  • Design and teach a poetry writing class
  • Assist non-profits with technical writing projects
  • Work with elementary school students on their literacy skills
Kinesiology
  • Teach aerobics or another form of general fitness at a senior citizen center or nursing home
  • Offer sports skills clinics for a youth organization
Political Science
  • Organize a voter registration drive
  • Teach different facets of government to students at a local school
  • Work with a community partners regarding data needed for Census
  • Provide non-partisan voter information via a community organization
Psychology
  • Provide support to families of children in the hospital via the Ronald McDonald organization.
  • Assist with special-needs, mental health, or counseling agencies
Science
  • Conduct classes at a senior center about the biology of aging
  • Study nutritional practices at a location and then develop educational materials to distribute to those members
  • Teach children about any form of science
  • Assist an organization in developing and publishing information on the hazards of drugs, alcohol, nicotine, etc.
  • Assist local parks and recreation center with restoring trails and educating users about proper trail usage
  • Test air, soil or water quality levels for a community organization
Sociology
  • Study the homeless population and develop programs for them
  • Research a community need and publish the findings
  • Design a website containing information about the various geographic locations in a certain area
  • Design statistical models to determine the needs of a special population