Service Learning Examples

Examples by Discipline

LARC 5331

Planting Design
Taught by: David Hopman, M.L.A.

The professional landscape architect uses both hardscape (paving, fences, walls, arbors and other structures) and softscape (trees, shrubs, ground covers, vines and other plants) to form and manipulate the landscape for human use and enjoyment and for ecological processes. Planting design enables the student to learn how to use plants to accomplish the ends desired in landscape design.

This planting design class begins with a study of the basic vocabulary of planting design utilizing The Planting design Handbook by Nick Robinson. The class continues with a series of exercises to develop a personal vocabulary of landscape forms and plant combinations suitable for professional practice. These studies culminate in one or two major service projects that the student develops from a concept design to a formal schematic design presentation for faculty, guest critics, and members of the community.

Academic Outcomes
At the conclusion of the class, students will:

  1. Produce schematic planting designs for a wide variety of vignette design problems that illustrate the student’s understanding of planting design principles,
  2. Demonstrate through written tests an understanding of the basic principles of planting design enumerated in the required texts and lectures, and
  3. Produce a schematic design and planting plan for a major service project to the standards of a professional office.

Service Learning Project
Master plan and planting design for proposed city of Denton, Texas Administrative Complex Botanic Garden

The project began with student analysis of the site including:

  1. Physical Survey: Topography, Hydrology and Drainage, Climate and microclimate
  2. Biological Survey: Soils and Geology, Vegetation, Potential for Fauna
  3. Human Survey: Existing uses, Existing Structures and Services, Existing management of flora and fauna, Access and circulation, Historic uses, Public perception
  4. Visual Survey: Views into, out of, and within the site, Landmarks and focal points within and without the site, Visual quality and character assessment of the site and surroundings

The students were then divided into two teams. Each team produced a complete design package including:

  1. A Graphic design for the team board layouts,
  2. bubble diagrams, site specific concept diagrams, and visitor experience diagrams,
  3. image boards showing examples of specific plants, plant groupings and design precedents,
  4. A master plan and enlarged detail plans of specific areas,
  5. an overall birds eye perspective and vignette perspectives,
  6. a planting plan in CAD drawn like a construction document, and
  7. an opinion of probable costs

Partners: Denton County Horticultural Agent and ten Texas Master Gardeners

PREL 4316

Public Relations Campaigns
Taught by: Shelley Wigley, Ph.D.

This is the capstone course for public relations majors. In this course, students have the opportunity to demonstrate their critical thinking and creative abilities. They do this through researching and planning a public relations campaign for a real-world client. The course is a combination of lecture, discussion, and in- and out-of-class campaign work time.

Academic Outcomes
This is the capstone course for PR majors. Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Demonstrate higher-order thinking skills by conducting primary and secondary PR research
  • Critically analyze and use that research to strategize for a client’s campaign
  • Demonstrate creativity in designing a message strategy for the client
  • Learn the business skills of negotiating and counseling a client, as well as learn key team-working skills essential to survival in PR
  • Complete the course with a real-world campaign that should become an important piece of the students’ professional portfolios
  • Implement/execute a public relations event on behalf of the client

Service-Learning Project: Improving Communication and Awareness of UTA’s Sustainability Efforts

The partner for this course was the President’s Sustainability Committee (PSC) at UTA. The committee is divided into several work groups that work to increase sustainability efforts on campus. The PSC was doing great things on campus but struggling to get the word out about its many initiatives. This is where students of UTA’s Public Relations Campaigns course came in to help. For this project, teams of 4-5 students worked with five different PSC work groups. Students conducted primary and secondary research on behalf of the client. Based on the students’ research findings, a campaign plan was developed and formally presented to each of the participating PSC work groups. Students also were required to execute an on-campus event on behalf of their specific work group.

Teams and Responsibilities and Partners: The partner for this event was the President’s Sustainability Committee (PSC). Also, each of the work groups was assigned a student team. The five participating PSC work groups were:

  • Building and Development
  • Communications
  • Curriculum, Research & Community Engagement
  • Dining Services
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling

Product/Result: Each PSC work group received a copy of a campaign book that contained research, recommendations and support materials for carrying out a proposed public relations campaign. Each work group was also invited to witness the formal presentations of the students’ campaigns. Students also executed a public relations event on behalf of each work group. These events included a Sustainability Shock Shack on the Library Mall, information booths, promotion of Meatless Monday and a seminar for employees who are vital to on-campus sustainability efforts. Additionally, students were required to reflect on their service learning experience through in-class discussions and a written reflection essay.

Jami Walton standing in front of the Social Work building at U T A

2019 Bachelor's Graduate in Social Work

Jami Walton

Jami Walton, now pursuing a master’s in social work at UTA, says her service-learning course (Introduction to Social Work) informed her current career path.