December 07th 2023

Service Learning Now Available in the bachelor's Program in Nonprofit, Social & Health Care Management

Innovative practical integration in cooperation with Caritas Tirol

In collaboration with Caritas Tirol, the Nonprofit, Social & Health Care Management program recently introduced Service Learning as a component of the curriculum. This innovative addition not only provides an enriching experience during the studies, but also opens up diverse opportunities for professional development.

Service Learning allows students to apply theoretical knowledge directly to practice by engaging in nonprofit organizations, social projects, or health facilities. Active participation provides insights into real challenges, contributing to the development of both professional and social skills. These initial practical experiences not only enhance understanding of various roles in the nonprofit, social and health sectors but also contribute to networking in different fields.

The benefits of Service Learning in the curriculum are manifold. Students can:

  1. Acquire practical knowledge: Applying course content directly in the real world deepens students' understanding of societal issues and helps them gain practical skills.
  2. Take social responsibility: Involvement in nonprofit projects enables students to make a positive contribution to society and take on social responsibility.
  3. Build networks: Collaboration with nonprofit organizations offers the opportunity to establish valuable contacts and expand professional networks.

The integration of Service Learning in the curriculum is not only an enrichment for personal development but also offers clear advantages in the job market. Employers value graduates with real industry experience, references beyond their academic bubble, and a commitment to social engagement.

How does it work?

Students in the Nonprofit, Social & Care Health Management program are connected to organizations and facilities in the social and health sectors through a course with Caritas. ECTS credits are awarded for the time students spend gaining insights, collecting experiences, and participating in initial activities in these areas.

  • Students choose two placement options (1st and 2nd choice) from the project offerings.
  • The Caritas Volunteer Center contacts the students and forwards their interests to the corresponding institution.
  • Any questions regarding the placement are clarified, and the start date is determined.
  • During the placement, students are accompanied by their familiar instructors and take notes for reflection.
  • To earn ECTS points, a written reflection is required (students receive separate information on this).

Head of Study Program Lukas Kerschbaumer is excited about the new offering: “We are convinced that Service Learning will make a significant contribution to education and prepare students optimally for the requirements in Nonprofit, Social & Health Care Management."

Sibylle Auer, head of the Volunteer Center Tirol Mitte, emphasizes: "Learning through engagement/Service Learning counteracts the fragmentation of society, strengthens togetherness through the concrete immersion of students in the social value of engagement. Because 'doing good feels good' – both for those gifted with time and those giving it. Feeling effective and experiencing outside one's comfort zone allows for a personal and social value to be realized."