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Service learning is an educational method that aims to plan and implement training and service experience under actual conditions and enable the students to be competitive. According to that, the managements for its application need to be concentrated on the institutional process, to ensure the continuity of operations, the contribution in resources and the interdisciplinary. This descriptive study aims to systematize the experience of institutionalizing S-Learning at the University of Monterrey in Mexico, and determine the dynamics and challenges faced by teachers, students and educational institutions. This involves a commitment to the creation of spaces, training, stimuli and evaluation in which the theoretical, practical and institutional come together in a systematic, reflective and proactive manner. Finally, the study reveals the impulse and improvement of institutional behavior, regards teacher councils and students as key elements, and the school's influence and sense of responsibility in this formative paradigm.

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The University of Monterrey (UDEM) was recognized by establishing a teaching model based on humanistic philosophy, which gave birth to the university and responded to the limitations of the higher education model at the time. In its conception, the founder was inspired by the humanistic and constructivist movements for the overall development of students (UDEM, 2015). The Social Economic Transition Party and the Social Transformation Party of the United States of America. In this way, through education, human value is emphasized as the central theme and focus, which starts from the premise of being a transformer of social assets and reality to improve reality (Portales and García de la Torre, 2015).

“The University of Monterrey is an educational community inspired by Catholicism. Through individualized education models and a cross-cultural academic excellence environment, students are trained as a whole, so that they can give full play to different areas of life and serve Find transcendence in other aspects; it also contributes to the development of knowledge and the construction of a sustainable society”, 2008-2018 mission (Director of Governance, Communication and Institutional Relations, 2017).

Under this philosophy, a kind of institutional education paradigm is defined in which middle school students occupy the first place. Among them, the intrinsic factors of personality, such as service, motivation, values and self-esteem, are regarded as the learning theme and the education of the learning object. field. (UDEM, 2014). This concept has led to the construction of a teaching model based on four main principles: 1. Education puts the individual, his/her learning and the overall development of his/her personality at the center; 2. Under the guidance and guidance of teachers , Students play a leading role in the education process; 3. The training provided includes current science and global content, so that students can compete with efficiency and dignity in a globalized world; 4. Education is indispensable, that is Said that education is oriented towards students’ cognitive, emotional and social development to reflect the humanistic characteristics of the institution.

Although the model has successfully enhanced the student's humanistic awareness and commitment to his/her education, he/she cannot make full use of the knowledge learned in the classroom to generate social impact or interest in change. Services provided to communities or people in vulnerable situations. In a country like Mexico, this commitment makes sense. In Mexico, more than 50% of the population has some type of social need and/or is in income poverty (CONEVAL, 2015).

Martinez (cited by Campo, 2012) stated that the same is true for innovation services during the university period, as well as for innovation research during the university period. The uniform requirements of the University of California, San Diego require service learning to increase innovation in university learning, which is an innovation of the classic goals of university institutions. It implies a change in university teaching culture, which is consistent with the new social and professional requirements of university graduates.

Under such circumstances, within the framework of international recognition, UDEM has adopted its integration plan as one of the projects to improve the quality of education, so that students are increasingly determined to solve social problems by using the knowledge acquired in vocational training (UDEM, 2016). The definition of the project brought the need to implement a learning method that would be consistent with the goal pursued, for which service learning (S-Learning) was chosen.

This methodology can be defined as an experiential education in which students participate in actions that address community needs while creating structured and deliberately designed opportunities to promote student learning and development (Jacoby, 1996). Beginning in 2016, it has laid the foundation for the institutionalization of higher education service-learning methods. 

The level of institutionalization of service learning experience can be understood as a variable at the operational level. It allows us to indicate to a certain extent the implementation framework of a specific experience in the school’s teaching recommendations. Therefore, it exceeds the isolated initiative of the teacher or director (Ierullo, 2012).


This research shows a descriptive approach to how the University of Monterrey (UDEM) in Mexico conceived and implemented the institutionalization process of S-Learning. The analysis uses a chronological approach, in which in-depth interviews, non-participatory observations and focus groups have studied each stage and experience of S-Learning from 2010 to the present. 

On the basis of the analysis, some favorable and unfavorable aspects were identified. These aspects help to measure the contribution of SA implementation as a teaching strategy in the UDEM education model, while optimizing the substantive process of institutionalization (for example, teaching reform), maximize other options and the scope of research.

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Ana Cristina García-Luna Romero (Mexico)
Universidad de Monterrey (Mexico) 4354
Scientific production

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