Definition of Community Service and Service Learning

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Division of Dental Hygiene

Community Service and Service Learning Guidelines
Community Service Recording Instructions

Definition of Community Service and Service Learning

The School of Dentistry Division of Dental Hygiene professional program requires the completion of 100 hours* of community service prior to the student award of Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene**. Students are encouraged to perform community service to develop a professional benevolence value system that should continue throughout their lives and careers. Dental hygiene professionals are frequently called upon to provide leadership in service to the communities they serve. More importantly, dental hygiene is a service profession by its nature and the Division of Dental Hygiene endorses community service and service learning as an integral part of its curriculum.
These types of activities are a method in which students can actively participate in organized service that is conducted in and meets the needs of the community. Community outreach activities are designed to prepare dental hygiene students to assess the oral health need of communities and individuals to provide service throughout their entire professional careers.


Service learning is required of all Health Sciences students with West Virginia University, part-time and full-time undergraduate and graduate students. Students ARE EXPECTED to perform community outreach during their rural rotation experiences, also. Service learning opportunities during rural rotation will be based upon availability and may be provided by the rural rotation preceptors or by the students themselves. Please note: Some courses may have service learning requirements that may or may not count toward the total needed community service hours. These additional hours will be determined and noted in the individual course syllabus.

Additional Requirements

  1. Dental Hygiene students MUST complete 100* community service/service learning hours PRIOR to graduation that MUST be served in more than one project or event.

  1. It is highly recommended that Bachelor of Science dental hygiene students complete 50 hours of service by the end of the third year of the program.

Learning Objectives

Through the performance of community service/learning services activities, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the skills needed to perform community outreach activities

  1. Indicate the health and social needs of a specific community

  1. Design appropriate community outreach activities as defined by the community in need

  1. Conduct hands-on learning experiences to meet the community’s needs

  1. Assess the effectiveness of the community service activities performed


In general, the Division of Dental Hygiene will grant hour-for-hour work credit. In some instances, community service activity credit may be increased above that for preparatory work needed to complete the service. This increase MUST be specified in WRITING and approved prior to the event. Students who have a question as to the amount or validity of credit for a given project should first contact Dr Shockey via email.

Every effort to coordinate with the other HSC schools to award similar hours of credit for similar or same activities that occur with other HSC students will be made; however, Dr Shockey and/or the Division of Dental Hygiene may deny service that has not been pre-approved or may change the number of hours for a particular project as deemed necessary. Dr. Shockey and/or the Division of Dental Hygiene also reserve the right to offer differing credit than that approved by other schools at HSC.
Activities that appear to be self-serving, in general, will not count toward the graduation requirement. On the side of caution, try to clear the activity with Dr. Shockey beforehand, especially, if there could be a conflict of interest.
Students are encouraged to enter their service shortly after it has been performed. ACTIVITIES MUST BE ENTERED WITHIN 6 MONTHS OF PERFORMANCE OR THEY WILL NOT COUNT!!!!! All entries must be submitted and approved before they can be added for credit.
IN EXTREME EMERGENCIES, occasional exceptions to the above guidelines may be made; however, generally, the guidelines will be not compromised to assure fairness to all students.

Community Service


Service Learning


Community Service Event – is an event where you are performing community service to an individual or multiple individuals and you are not teaching others about what you have learned while pursuing your degree. Community service includes activities that contribute to the well-being of our citizens, community, and environment. Examples include: helping in the soup kitchen, reading aloud at a school, hospital or nursing home, picking up trash in the community, volunteer time with patient care groups, work in respective religious organizations, health care organizations, self-help groups, hospital organizations, donating blood or bone marrow (3 hours maximum), local school education or health assessment programs, monitoring blood pressures at the mall/senior center, volunteering at Health Right clinic without performing services to a patient, etc.

Specific Types of Examples of activities:

  • Read-a-loud program at a school

  • Literacy volunteers

  • Health Education sessions in a school or community

  • Visiting the elderly (i.e., Nursing homes, hospitals, etc.)

  • Activities through churches, sororities, fraternities, etc. (i.e. Adopt-A-Highway)

  • Working with youth soccer, baseball, basketball, etc.

  • Blood donation

  • Health fairs

Realize, though, for camps (i.e. - Nabe, 4-H, etc), a maximum of 50 hours will be awarded for a week of camp when volunteering as a camp counselor or other worker. Fifty hours will be the maximum allowed hours for any on-going programming, also, such as, Be Smart-Eat Smart, VISTA programs, etc.

Service Learning Event – is an event where you are performing community service and using what you have learning while pursuing your degree. Service learning is defined as a structured learning experience that combines community service with preparation and reflection. Service learning hinges on a response to community-identified concerns and students learn about the context in which service is provided, the connection between their service and their academic coursework, and their roles as citizens and professionals. Examples of this would include teaching children about proper dental hygiene, participating in health fairs, working as a volunteer in a clinic, participating in the Homecoming Parade, Relay for Life, etc. The SOLE logging system for service learning includes opportunities for students to reflect on their service learning experiences.

Examples of Agencies

  • Habitat for Humanity (building homes for people without shelter)

  • Rape & domestic violence information center

  • Morgantown Health Right

  • Soup Kitchen, Bartlett House, Meals on Wheels, etc.

  • Child Life Program in a Children’s Hospital

  • Ronald McDonald House

  • Girl & Boy Scouts

  • Big Brothers/Big Sisters

  • American Red Cross and Blood Donation Centers

  • Salvation Army

  • Christian Help

  • WIC

  • Youth Development Camps (i.e. 4-H)

  • AHEC service learning experiences will apply toward the 100 hours, but only the service learning – not the clinical or research activities.

    School Service Events – is an event where you are performing a service for the school, these hours are normally limited and will count towards overall community service hours. Service to the school is LIMITED TO 10 HOURS IN TOTAL. Examples of these events would include: assisting the program to set up for graduation, putting together education kits, mentor, usher for school events, tour guide, etc.

Student Instructions

  1. Log in to SOLE

  1. Click on Community Service in the Courses & Sites list.

  1. My Events Page

The My Events page shows the total number of approved community service, school service and service learning events that have been approved and the total that are pending approval. Total number of encounters for service learning events is also shown at the top of the page.

  1. To add a service event, click on the add event icon at the top of the page.

The following is a definition of the types of events you can enter depending on the criteria set by the Division of Dental Hygiene.

  1. Select the proper event type from the drop down list based on the definitions above.

  1. Complete the required fields.

  1. Click the save button to submit the event.

  1. You will be able to edit and delete the event prior to it being approved by the department administrators. If an event is rejected you will be able to make corrections to it so it may later be approved by the division.

Students may also earn community service hours by making donations to charitable causes. NOTE: No more than 5 hours of community service credit may be earned via donations. Additionally, all donations regardless of size earn 1 hour of service per donation.  In order for a monetary donation to merit an hour of community service, the donation must be $10 or more. The figure was derived from considering what would be comparable to an hour's wages (minimum). We are one of the few HSC programs that permit this type of donation to count towards community service; this change will hopefully allow us to retain that component of our community service policy. This is to begin teaching the importance of community benevolence.

In general, donations in lieu of service are discouraged and do not meet the spirit of this requirement. However, it is anticipated that students will become future health professionals who will likely have a solid earning potential that would allow them to contribute monies to their communities. Thus, in order to foster future giving tendencies, a limited amount of donations are acceptable. A limit of 5 total hours of service may be granted for donations (monetary, goods or food valued at least $10) to meet the 100 hour requirement. These must be accumulated through 5 different service projects or events. A minimum of $10 donation, with no dollar cap, is set to be equivalent to one hour of service. Students must enter the following information related to each of these types of donations: Date/s of donation; Amount of donation; Benefactor/Organization; Person in charge of the organization; Contact information, Narrative on why the student chose the benefactor, the purpose of the benefitting organization, and how he/she believes the money, goods or food will improve the “community.” Failure to enter this complete information into SOLE will cause the donation to be disallowed. There will be NO exceptions!!!

Students must record their community service hours on the SOLE Community Service site and may check their total number of approved hours at anytime. Students are reminded that they are on the Honor system and should only record those hours and activities that they have actually performed. Failure to do so may result in charges of academic dishonesty being brought before the Committee on Academic and Professional Integrity. The Division of Dental Hygiene reserves the right to question the number of hours entered and make appropriate changes (increase or decrease) in the number of hours recorded.

Reminder: Students who enter with an advanced standing or repeat an academic year will have their 100 hour requirement prorated.

Approval Procedure

1. The student completes the service learning under appropriate supervision.

2. The student enters the service learning hours in SOLE, at

3. Dr. Shockey will review the service learning activity entered and either approve or deny.

4. A maximum of five (5) service learning hours may be given for donations of goods or money to a charitable organization of $10 or more per donation.

*This is based on the assumption that the degree is a four-year degree. If a student enters the program as an advanced standing student, the student is required to earn 75 hours (25 hours per academic year).

Additionally, if a student is required to repeat an academic year, the community service level increases 25 additional hours.

**All Master’s level students must earn 25 hours total.

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