Community Service Learning (CSL) is part of VU education. CIS has added the international dimension to CSL portfolio, by offering students and lecturers a unique opportunity to collaborate with less privileged communities, in countries outside the Euro-American axis.
Spring 2020 the VU published its strategy for the period 2020-2025. One of the societally oriented innovations proposed for education at VU is Community Service Learning (www.vu.nl/strategy). CSL is an educational methodology & practice in which students use their academic knowledge and skills to serve society. CSL is designed to connect theory and practice and meet challenging social problems while educating students for a life as responsible citizens. CSL combines two distinct, but related goals: (i) an educational goal based on learning-by-doing and reflection (ii) a societal goal to serve the community, by co-creating meaningful solutions. In CSL students work in projects with communities outside the academic circles, providing them a unique opportunity how to deal with diversity outside the university environment. There are many ways to include CSL in the learning process, such as identifying and analyzing environmental, social or economic issues, or doing health-related projects/ internships.
The role of CIS as VU’s hub to the world outside the Euro-American axis, is to add the international dimension to CSL, by providing opportunities for students and their lecturers to roll CSL education in Africa, Asia and Latin America. CSL projects have been carried out in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 in Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Malaysia. A recent publication describes one of the international CSL-based master course that VU Computer Science Department and CIS carried out, together with the University of Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS). The CSL program at VU is part of A Broader Mind program.