Program Benefits

Service Learning has a profound and lasting impact on students, community and the university.


  • engage in self-directed active learning.
  • use critical thinking and problem solving skills.
  • broaden personal awareness of community and community organizations.
  • increase their understanding of community development.
  • contribute to the community.
  • develop reflection skills on issues of social responsibility.
  • explore career options.

Community benefits:

  • Fosters collaboration between university and community.
  • Extends campus academic and human resources into the community.
  • Raises the profile of community groups.
  • Adds student perspectives to the delivery of social programs.
  • Increases the potential for more knowledgeable future employees.
  • Brings energy and enthusiasm to existing programming.

University benefits:

  • Encourages innovation in teaching practices.
  • Enriches the teaching and learning process.
  • Brings an added dimension to classroom discussion.
  • Provides diversity of learning opportunities for students.
  • Communities serve as an alternative learning setting.
  • Provides an avenue to university-community research partnerships.
  • Strengthens community-university relations.


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Remote video URL


StFX was the first university in Canada to develop and facilitate Service Learning as an academic based, experiential learning program for undergraduate students. In 1996, Dr. Ann Bigelow introduced this innovative learning and teaching pedagogy, which is under the stewardship of the Academic Vice President and Provost, offering Immersion experiences and local Course Based Service Learning.

Immersion, or ISL, is an intense and reflective cross‐cultural learning experience offered during reading week, post winter term, and over the summer months. StFX students, together with StFX leaders, have traveled to destinations across Canada, and various locations in Europe, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Asia, West Africa, and Mexico. Students participate in reciprocal learning and service activities as requested by destination communities, and visit relevant sites of historic, cultural, or political importance.

Course Based Service Learning, or CBSL, has grown to become the largest component of the Service Learning program at StFX. The CBSL program facilitates student service placements in the local community that complement academic assignments to enrich classroom learning. CBSL courses are offered in most departments at StFX.

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CBSL collaborates with over 100 local community groups, providing more than 900 service experiences to over 1000 students yearly. ISL has also continued to grow, providing over 60 StFX students each year with the opportunity to participate in transformative experiential education though engagement in global social justice issues. Currently, ISL destinations include Belize, Ghana, Ecuador, Guatemala, Germany, Poland, Ottawa and Peru.

StFX has identified Service Learning as a priority for enhancement, both in the recent Presidential Task Force on Sustaining Academic Priorities 2013-2018, as well as in the StFX University Strategic Plan.



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2021 September Issue

Group of people standing in front of a barn with an old-fashioned bicycle

2020 October Issue

A group of people in front of a pavillion

2019 June Issue


A poster (celebrating 25 years of service learning) with a mosaic of images

Service Learning Newsletter 2022

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2021 September Issue

A group of people by a grass hut in Ecuador

2020 September Issue


Staff AND Faculty

The StFX Service Learning Program is managed and administered by a Program Manager, a Community Engagement Lead, an Immersion Program Assistant, a Course Based Program Assistant, and a Faculty Coordinator.

Meet Our Team

Service Learning Programming Support And Projects

The Service Learning program employs 3 StFX students each year to support programming and projects.

Ethan Copp
Service Learning Student Leader

Ethan Copp

Victoria Adams
Service Learning Student Leader

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Kaylee Cox
Service Learning Student Leader

Kaylee Cox