CSL Course Designation

Service Learning Course Designation Guidelines

In AY 2002-2003, the Academic Senate (#S03-224) and President, approved that all Community Service Learning (CSL) courses be identified in the SF State Bulletin and Class Schedule with a special (CSL) designation.* The designation will assist students in locating courses that have a CSL option and have the opportunity include the hours served at their learning site as part of their CSL course in their Official Transcript. Current list of CSL designated courses

Community service learning (CSL) offers students the chance to link academic study and course credit with community involvement and critical reflection. Students enrolled in a course offering a community service learning opportunity split their time between classroom instruction, service in the community, and reflection upon the service experience. Community service learning enhances academic learning by allowing students to make connections between their academic study and its application, to clarify their career goals and acquire work related skills, to develop a heightened sense of civic responsibility and awareness of moral and ethical issues, and to provide work of value to the community. The service experienced is informed by knowledge from the discipline and is integrated into the course through readings, projects, class presentations, meaningful and on-going reflection.

Policy on Service Learning

  1. Definition: Service learning is an academic study linked to community service through structured reflection so that each reinforces the other. The academic study may be in any discipline. The service may address a variety of community needs.
  2. Minimum criteria for designation of service learning courses: The OCSL Steering Committee** and the Director of OCSL will be responsible for assigning the designation. To obtain the designation, each course must meet the following criteria:
  • The course involves students in service activities or projects with external communities that are responsive to community needs. Students who choose the CSL option must complete at least 20 hours per academic term of direct academically relevant community service.
  • The course includes academic topics that directly address questions related to the activities of the students.
  • The course requires student reflection on the interrelationships between course content, concepts, and objectives and community-based learning activities.

Procedures for Approving Designation as a Service Learning Course

Initial Designation: 

  • Instructors wishing to obtain an “CSL” designation for their course for the first time must complete the University procedure for new course and revisions to existing courses through the Curriculum Inventory Management (CIM) system. Please click here for a step-by-step process.
  • Within the CIM system, you will then be directed to answer the following CSL specific questions:
    1. Description of the probable service assignment(s), including specifics on work products expected and an explanation of how students will be prepared for their service placement.
    2. An explanation of how you will integrate learning from this particular community service learning experience into course discussion and assignments, including a statement of how learning from a service will be evaluated. Reflection techniques used in the course.
    3. Number of CSL hours/semester
    4. Request to attach course syllabus (include CSL component, if available). 
    • Note: Uploading files requires Adobe Flash 10 – you will not be able to submit your request without this.
    • Note: If you received a Call to Service grant and the course written in the proposal is not currently CSL designated, you will still be required to complete this process and answer the above questions. Tip: Cut & paste items from your grant proposal and insert to align with the appropriate questions in this form.

Submission Deadlines


*Unanimously approved by the Academic Senate at its meeting on April 1, 2003 | Approved by President Robert A. Corrigan on September 25, 2003

**The Office of Community Service Learning (OCSL) merged with the SF Urban Insititute in AY 2006-2007 to form ICCE. The ICCE Faculty Advisory Council and ICCE Faculty & Associate Director reviews all CSL designation requests.


Frequently Asked Questions