The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article on the meaning of service in academia and how it should be listed and discussed on a CV.
Of the three typical kinds of serviceâ€”community service, institutional service, and service to the professionâ€”the first one is the least valued in a university setting, and the last one is the most valued. Often, however, vitas and tenure cases do not clearly distinguish between those very different types of work.
Institutional serviceâ€”chairing or serving on departmental, college, or university committees and councilsâ€”is the most easily understood. After all, it is a standard work assignment, the sort of task expected of every academic.
The confusion over service usually arises from a conflation of community and professional service.
The highest value lies in service to the discipline. Whether you are an editor of a scholarly journal, officer of your national professional organization, coordinator of a scholarly conference, manuscript reviewer for a press or journal, external reviewer for tenure and promotion, or contributor to the discipline in some other capacity, those activities typically receive the most credit in deliberations over tenure, promotion, and performance review.
The article is interesting. I think that a lot of what is discussed within this article is simple confusion. But some of it might be an issue of what is acceptable or labeled as something at one college is not always looked at in the same way at another.
The definitions the author gives are, however, the standard definitions for service.