Resources for Service-Learning and Mathematics

So you want to implement some service in your mathematics course, and do it in such a way that it both honestly adds to the mathematical understanding of your students and views the clients as true partners in the learning enterprise? Then you want to know about "Service-Learning and Mathematics".

Despite my best efforts, after over five years this page remains one of the top-ranked pages in searches for service-learning and mathematics. I view this as a bug; there should be many better ones than this very minimalist page! But such is the state of the discipline.

So below I will continue to (lightly) curate various links and resources regarding service-learning and mathematics (SLM), primarily at the collegiate level in the United States.

Brief Introductions

Maybe you don't really get what all the fuss is about. Look here for mathematics-specific introductions. I will not mention the many, many excellent general introductions to service-learning! (For my own view on the relation to the difficult-to-define notion of social justice, see these slides.)

Collected Resources

There are some actual collections of resources which I can recommend. Unfortunately, there are not many available. Currently I am not individually reviewing these, but may create a fuller "quick-read" summary of topics at some point in the future.

Standalone Articles

There are really a lot of good ideas in the collections. However, there are a number (not enough) of articles outside of collections which also give case studies or other tips. Please email me (address below) with relevant articles I am not aware of.


Remarkably, there are three doctoral dissertations on this topic.

Further Resources

There are some other resources as well. Unfortunately, the main clearinghouses for such things are very light on mathematics.

I have two personal beefs with the final point above which you can just skip unless you are bored and want to hear my opinion on institutional politics in the US academic landscape.

Innovations in Service-Learning at All Levels

In January 2011, Karl-Dieter Crisman, Rachelle Ankney, and Robert Perlis organized an MAA contributed paper session at the Joint Mathematics Meetings on service-learning in collegiate mathematics. Talks were presented on examples of successful projects from the most basic courses through opportunities for graduate students.

It proved to be very popular - all were well attended by JMM standards, and one talk was even standing room only! There was also a great introductory talk by Charles Hadlock, the editor of Mathematics in Service to the Community.

As a service to this community (those interested in mathematics and service-learning at the post-secondary level), this very basic website gives links to pdf versions of all twelve talks from this session, as well as abstracts and contact information. All authors have given permission for these to be posted, but please keep in mind that they retain copyright. Feel free to contact them with questions and ideas! (If only we had gotten video of some of the talks.)

Talks on Service-Learning

Category Title Contact
Overall Models and Information Opportunities and Challenges in Incorporating Service-Learning in Mathematical Sciences Programs (talk) (abstract) Charles Hadlock
Overall Models and Information Community Service-Learning in Mathematics: Models for Course Design (talk) (abstract) Debra Hydorn
Quantitative Literacy and General Education Courses Serve While You Learn: A Quantitative Literacy Course (talk) (abstract) Karen Stanish
Quantitative Literacy and General Education Courses Serving Hope - How to build service-learning into your non-major mathematics courses to benefit the local community (talk) (abstract) Melinda Schulteis
Quantitative Literacy and General Education Courses Just Math: Learning about Justice with Math vs. Doing Justice with Math (talk) (abstract) Rachelle Ankney
Mid-Range Courses (with both majors and non-majors) Real Data & Service Learning Projects in Statistics (talk) (abstract) Brad Bailey and Robb Sinn
Mid-Range Courses (with both majors and non-majors) Mathematical and Moral Development Through Service-Learning (talk) (abstract) Karl-Dieter Crisman
Mid-Range Courses (with both majors and non-majors) Service-Learning in an Interdisciplinary Mathematics and Economics Course (talk) (abstract) Morteza Shafii-Mousavi and Paul Kochanowski
Upper-Level and Graduate Students Disaster Modeling -- Beyond the Numbers (talk) (abstract) Benjamin Galluzzo
Upper-Level and Graduate Students A Model for the Community (talk) (abstract) Tim Chartier
Upper-Level and Graduate Students A Service Project in a Capstone Modeling Course (talk) (abstract) Ethan Berkove
Upper-Level and Graduate Students Northern Territory Maths Camp (talk) (abstract) B. Carrigan, C. Carrigan, B. Kozak, and C. Rodger