Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center

Social Work


Community Service Learning (CSL) is a required course for Bachelor of Social Work students during their junior year and includes a two-quarter service-learning commitment with a non-profit, community-based or public sector organization.

CSL presents students with a unique opportunity to develop a better understanding of why one might choose social work as a field of study, and it is an opportunity for students to explore the world of social services in a hands-on way.  In addition, CSL provides undergraduate students with a valuable opportunity to bridge classroom content with “in-the-field” experiences.


  • Friday, October 28: Deadline for community partners to submit positions via EXPO
  • Monday, November 21-Wednesday, November 23: Students register for CSL placements via EXPO
  • Monday, December 19: Deadline for students to have had an informal interview with supervisor and an orientation at their site
  • Week of January 3: Students begin regular weekly commitment at CSL organization
  • Week of May 29: Last week of students’ commitment to CSL organization.

As students engage in service-learning, they will hone their critical thinking skills, advocate for diversity and multiculturalism in support of social justice, while deliberating upon the political, historical and cultural context of social work practice. Students will have the opportunity to learn from community-based social services professionals and the communities they are working within. For many BASW students, the CSL internship is their first experience working in a social service setting.  Accordingly, it is a chance for students to explore areas of interest in the social work field and possible career paths.  CSL opportunities can encompass a broad range of service work including:

  • Direct work with individuals
  • Direct work with groups
  • Community building/community organizing
  • Policy/advocacy
  • Social services administrative work

Hosting CSL students

CSL students are expected to complete 4-6 hours each week during Winter and Spring Quarters (40-60 hours per quarter).  Community partners are asked to propose CSL opportunities in the Autumn Quarter.

When developing a project or position title and description, keep in mind that:

  • Service-learning students choose their placement from a wide array of opportunities submitted by organizations.  A clear and thorough position description will help students make the best placement choice.
  • Focused projects with clear expectations, visible outcomes, and a plan for developing skills over time keep students on track, interested and motivated

Access EXPO, the Carlson Center’s online system, to submit a position. 

CSL Position Examples

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