UNISERVITATE Service-Learning in Catholic Higher Education

Iniciativa de Porticus

coordinación general del Centro Latinoamericano para el Aprendizaje del Servicio Solidario (CLAYSS).

UNISERVITATE aims to generate a systemic change in Catholic Higher Education Institutions (CHEIs), through the institutionalization of service-learning (SL) as a tool to fulfill their mission of integral education.

Most recent Vatican documents on the mission and identity of CHEIs call to articulate science and faith, academic excellence with the concrete testimony of a socially engaged University.

In the last few years, the teaching of Pope Francis has insisted on the need to break out of the isolation of the Church to “go out and head for the periphery”, and has repeatedly asked the CHEIs to offer their students the opportunity to involve “heads, hands and hearts” in addressing the challenges of the world outside the walls.

However, many CHEIs are suffering an identity crisis, weakening their possibility to offer a truly “integral education” because of the institutional fragmentation between academic and pastoral goals and departments, and contradictions between the formal statements and the institutional practices. In many CHEIs service-learning is confused with mere volunteerism, is practiced without rigorous standards, or is not yet institutionalized in such a way that it could influence the entire university life.

Quality service-learning may offer a specific pedagogical contribution for CHEIs, helping them articulate their social outreach and spiritual identity with the academic activities, and offering innovative ways to achieve integral education, as evidenced by research and some experiences of CHEIs

Project objectives:

  • To expand and strengthen the network of Catholic Higher Education Institutions (CHEIs) at the global level in order to make a critical, original and innovative contribution to the goals of university education in the contemporary context.
  • To expand and strengthen the network of Catholic Higher Education Institutions (CHEIs) at the global level in order to make a critical, original and innovative contribution to the goals of university education in the contemporary context.
  • To promote the training of human resources to encourage the design, implementation and evaluation of SL projects.
  • o research and produce knowledge about the spiritual dimension of SL in order to collaborate in the design of educational models related to the identity and mission of CHEIs considering multicultural contexts
  • To make available to the entire university educational community – both religious and non-confessional – the academic production of the programme, the experiences implemented within its framework and a series of bibliographical resources edited by experts in the field
Project results:
  • Mapping & state of the art
  • I Global Symposium in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Manual for training of trainers online
  • II Global Symposium on “SL Spirituality and contribution to CHEIs identity and mission” in Lisbon, Portugal
  • III Global Symposium in Rome, Italy. – SL Global Manual published

Project contributions SDGS’s:

  • GOAL 4: Quality Education
  • GOAL 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
  • GOAL 17: Partnerships for the goals

Project partners

  • Porticus
  • Latin American Centre for Solidarity Service-Learning (CLAYSS).
  • Africa: Tangaza University College (Nairobi, Kenya)
  • Asia & Oceania: De la Salle University (Manila, Phillipines)
  • Central and Eastern Europe & Middle East: Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingoldstadt (Eichstätt, Alemania)
  • West Europe North: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Leuven, Bélgica)
  • West Europe South: Universidad de Deusto (Bilbao, España)
  • Latin America & The Caribbean: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Santiago de Chile)
  • United States & Canada: Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (Washington DC, United States)

Contact person: María Nieves Tapia

Email: ntapia@clayss.org.ar

Project start date: 01/09/2019

Project finishing date: 31/08/2022