The Original since 2014: SchlüsSL-Se­mi­nar

SchlüsSL is a portmanteau for "key competencies-oriented Service Learning" ("Schlüsselkompetenzorientiertes Service Learning" in German).

Combine volunteering with earning study credits!

In the SchlüsSL seminar, you will commit at least 60 hours over the course of a semester to a non-profit institution and implement a clearly defined project there. The University of Kassel has existing cooperations with public welfare oriented institutions in Kassel, which submit proposals for possible projects before the start of the semester. However, you can also submit your own project idea, e.g. if you are already volunteering at a social institution or initiative.

The seminar is taught in German.

Registering in HIS-LSF

Link to course catalogue summer semester 2023 to follow.

Contact person

Dr. Imke-Marie Badur

UniKasselTransfer |
Service Learning und gesellschaftliches Engagement

Tel.: +49 561 804-7469

Student (summer term 19) about the SchlüSL-Seminar

I learned how to develop my skills, practiced presentation techniques, how to be more confident, how to leave my comfort zone and dare more.

Student (summer term 19) about the SchlüSL-Seminar

Student (summer term 19) about the most important learning experience from the SchlüSL seminar

Changing perspectives. Don't just think from a university point of view.

Student (summer term 19) about the most important learning experience from the SchlüSL seminar

FAQ SchlüsSL seminar

The offer is aimed at students

  • who would like more practical experience in their studies and to get to know other societal environments ,
  • who want to develop their personality, sharpen their social awareness and expand their key competencies,
  • who would like to get involved in volunteering on a trial basis and for a limited period of time, or
  • who are already active as volunteers and would like to have part of their commitment credited to their studies.

So far, the seminar has been recognized for Bachelor students in departments 1, 2, 5, 7, 10, 11, 14 and 16. Please check in the HIS-LSF to see if your degree program is already listed. Interested students of other study programmes can contact D. Imke-Marie Badur, e-mail: Your examination office may recognize the seminar as well.

The registration takes place via the HIS-LSF. There the event is listed as "Gutes tun und Credits sammeln"

The SchlüsSL seminar takes place approximately every 14 days on Friday mornings, from 10:00 to 13:30.

It comprises a total of 7 seminar sessions with 4 units each.  In the time between sessions, students plan and implement the 60-hour engagement projects, which should be completed by the end of the semester if possible.

In justified cases, the project implementation can also take place during the lecture-free period.

The kick-off seminar session for the summer semester will take place on Friday, April 21, 2023 from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm.

The location of the kick-off is the Idea Lab in the Science Park (North Campus, Holländischer Platz), Universitätsplatz 12, 34109 Kassel.

Seminar sessions:
See the seminar description in the online course catalogue ("Gutes Tun und Credits sammeln")

At the beginning, the seminar concept, the service learning format and the seminar contents will be presented. Afterwards, variousnon-profit organisations and public institutions in Kassel will present their needs for the upcoming semester. Students can choose their engagement project from these offers or propose their own project, which should, however, be agreed upon in advance with an institution and with Dr. Imke-Marie Badur.

Volunteering projects within the Service Learning-framework of the Universität Kassel meet the following criteria:

  • in cooperation with an institution recognized as a non-profit organization (association, gGmbH, NGO) or in a public institution (city, district), exceptions possible
  • covering issues in the fields of social affairs, education, environment, health, human/civil rights, rescue services, in exceptional cases also culture and sports
  • inherent characteristics of a project, i.e. a clearly framed, verifiable project goal, for which the students take ownership (no continuous commitment such as weekly volunteering, and no job shadowing)
  • not for profit (no payments for project implementation)
  • creating real community impact in answer to a clearly stated need of the community partner or societal challenge
  • project can be planned and implemented within about 60 hours by students without specific previous knowledge or experience

The seminar consists of seven sessions:

1.Introduction, overview of seminar schedule and contents

Presentation of projects from the previous semester, service learning (SL) in general and in a university framework, presentation of possible volunteering projects for the coming semester.

Objective: introduction to service learning and previous SL projects, understanding the scope of planning and implementing yor own SL project

2. Topic: "Project Management"

Project planning, project phases, goal formulation, milestones, time planning, methods, monitoring, evaluation.

Objective: Planning your own project according to the guidelines and tools of PM

3. Topic: "Participation"

Role of participation in socio-political decision-making processes, participatory methods, managing resistance and passivity.

Objective: Methods for involving target groups in the planning and implementation stages of social projects

4. Topic: "Communication and Conflict Management"

Introduction to communication theory, non-verbal communication, Understanding and shaping communication according to the model by  Schulz v. Thun, conversation techniques, conflict resolution according to the Harvard-concept, styles of conflict, levels of conflicts

Objective: Reflecting on your own patterns of conflict behaviour, applying solution-oriented conversation techniques

5. Topic: "Team work and team competence"

Team roles and team values, efficiency and effectiveness in teams, stages of team development, leadership in self-directing teams, processes of team decisions and conflict resolution.

Objective: Reflecting own team experiences and competencies, criteria of effective teamwork

6. Topic: "Academic writing"

Basics of academic writing: citation, paraphrase, selection of literature; academic interest, question-led writing, structure and scope of the report, in-depth analysis of an academic topic.

Objective: Preparing for writing the final project report.

7. Internal presentation and reflection of the implemented projects

Reflection on project goals, challenges, acquired key competencies, acquired practical knowledge, lessons learned,

Objective: Evaluation of the project and its social impact.

6 ECTS for additive key competencies:

  • Attending the 7 seminar sessions (28 UE)
  • Planning and implementing your volunteering project (60 hours)
  • Presenting your project at the final session
  • Writing a 10-page project report (graded or ungraded) with a description of the project, a theoretical in-depth analysis, and a personal reflection on the experience gained.
  • additional preparation and follow-up time, including planning and evaluation meetings in the cooperating institutions

6 ETCS for additive key competencies

Special arrangements:
Social Work students receive 3 credits in Module S for course credit (5-page final report), and 5 credits for an examination credit (10-page final report). Students of computer science receive only 3 credits for key competencies.

There are several reasons for the creation of the SchlüsSL seminar:

  • students wishing to earn ECTS for their  extracurricular volunteer work
  • university departments wishing to provide interesting and effective interdisciplinary seminars for additive key competencies
  • student survey results stating that students would like more opportunities for practical application of knowledge in their seminars
  • University of Kassel commiting to strengthen students' sense of social responsibility (joining the university network Bildung durch Verantwortung e.V. in 2012)
  • Hessian Ministry of Science and Culture wishing to promote civic engagement of students through modules in which they can earn credits for volunteering
  • Kommission Schlüsselkompetenzen (Commission of the Conference of Deans of Studies of the University of Kassel) unanimously deciding that non-university volunteering should only be credited for the area of key competencies if there is meaningful connection to academicteaching, namely through combining teaching and reflection of practical experiences in the context of a service learning seminar. The university-wide framework for key competencies/ Rahmenvorgaben für Schlüsselkompetenzen was adapted accordingly in 2013.