ISSL 2021-22

Symposium Aim

Transformation has become a central discussion theme in the higher education landscape worldwide. Forecasts reveal that higher education institutions might become virtual entities that compete for survival, which will render face-to-face interaction of the lecture hall redundant.

Out-of-classroom learning spaces will likely become more important as students will learn in their own communities. Service-learning is a transformative pedagogy that emphasizes out of classroom experiences as a learning space, the community as a textbook and where theory becomes practice.

The purpose of the 8th International Symposium on Service-Learning is to focus on transitions in higher education and the role that critical service-learning plays in social transformation. One of the main areas of focus will be on student and faculty delivery of critical service-learning experiences and becoming agents of positive change for their communities and universities. We will learn more about the significant role that service-learning plays in students becoming more engaged and active citizens, faculty teaching in more critical and collaborative ways, and the community growing into living knowledge incubators. These focal points will be threaded throughout a variety of presentation types and formats to allow for meaningful dialogue among academics, community partners, students, and other professionals.

The 8th International Symposium aims to:

  • Explore the complexities of transitions and transformation within higher education across the world.
  • Enhance the systemic transformative social impact of critical service-learning in society.
  • Illuminate and enhance service-learning as an innovative transformative pedagogy for social change.
  • Strengthen networking between different institutions of higher education and community partners on a global scale.
  • Proliferate participation in service-learning practice in higher education by developing a community of practice through this conference.


The 8th International Symposium on Service-Learning (ISSL) is a two-part symposium. Part 1 took place in June 2021 in virtual format. Part 2, which will take place in personwill build on the momentum generated by past symposia:

  • The 1st ISSL, Service-Learning Models for the 21st Century: Intercommunity, InterdisciplinaryInternational was held at Stellenbosch University in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 2005.
  • The 2nd ISSL, Service-Learning in Higher Education: Paradigms and Challenges, was held in 2007 at the University of Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
  • The 3rd ISSL, Service-Learning in Higher Education: Educators, Communities, and Students, was held in November 2009 at the University of Indianapolis campus in Athens, Greece.
  • The 4th ISSL, Service-Learning in Higher Education: Connecting the Global to the Local was held in September 2011 in Ningbo, China.
  • The 5th ISSL, Service-Learning across the Globe: from Local to Transnational was held in November 2013 in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
  • The 6th ISSL, Service-Learning as a Global Movement: Transforming Communities & Higher Education was held in May 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
  • The 7th ISSL, Service-Learning as a Response to Global Transitions in Higher Education: Opportunities for Transforming Higher Education and Advancing Social Impact was held in June 2017 in Galway, Ireland.
  • The 8th ISSL (Part 1), Critical Service-Learning Across the Globe: Transforming Teaching into Social Action in June 2021, Virtual Symposium