The American Association of Community Colleges' service learning initiative began with a 1994 grant from the Corporation for National Service to strengthen the service learning infrastructure within and across community colleges, and to help train faculty members in skills needed to develop effective service learning opportunities. AACC helped develop campus-based programs that became a nucleus for a growing community college service learning network. A variety of "best practices" evolved from the strategies and resources developed at the ten colleges that participated in AACC's project. These colleges are now known as the AACC Service Learning Alumni Colleges.
From 1995 through 1997, 10 competitively selected community colleges worked together to serve as models for other college service learning programs:
- Central New Mexico Community College, (formerly Albuquerque TVI Community College), NM
- Alpena Community College, MI
- Flathead Valley Community College, MT
- Hocking Technical College, OH
- Johnson County Community College, KS
- Kapi`olani Community College, HI
- Monroe Community College, NY
- Northern Virginia Community College—Manassas, VA
- Prestonsburg Community College, KY
- Truman College, IL
These colleges were assisted by an AACC Service Learning Mentor Team, comprising six experienced service learning professionals from:
Over the five complete semesters of the project (January 1995 to June 1997), 6,629 students at the ten grantee colleges performed 133,181 hours of direct community service. More than 150 faculty members integrated service learning into their course curricula. The student service learners worked at 500 different community agencies and schools, serving at least 250,000 individuals.
Students at each of the grantee colleges consistently reported that service learning enhanced their understanding of course material, and increased their awareness of community needs and their ability to make a difference in their local communities. The vast majority of service learners enthusiastically recommend service learning to their peers as well as to faculty who have yet to incorporate the instructional methodology.
The mentors and grantee colleges completed their AACC projects August 31, 1997. These "alumni" remain on board as part of AACC's Horizons project, which began September 1, 1997.
To read more about the Service Learning Alumni Colleges, see the AACC Project Brief: