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Service-Learning Essentials: Questions, Answers, and Lessons Learned

ISBN: 978-1-118-62794-5
352 pages
November 2014, Jossey-Bass
Service-Learning Essentials: Questions, Answers, and Lessons Learned (1118627946) cover image


Service-Learning Essentials is the resource you need to help you develop high-quality service-learning experiences for college students. Written by one of the field's leading experts and sponsored by Campus Compact, the book is the definitive work on this high-impact educational practice. Service-learning has been identified by the Association of American Colleges and Universities as having been widely tested and shown to be beneficial to college students from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Organized in an accessible question-and-answer format, the book responds clearly and completely to the most common questions and concerns about service-learning. Each chapter addresses issues related to individual practice as well as to the collective work of starting and developing a service-learning center or program, with examples drawn from a variety of disciplines, situations, and institutional types. The questions range from basic to advanced and the answers cover both the fundamentals and complexities of service-learning. Topics include:

  • Determining what service-learning opportunities institutions should offer
  • How to engage students in critical reflection in academic courses and in cocurricular experiences
  • Best practices for developing and sustaining mutually beneficial campus-community partnerships
  • Integrating service-learning into the curriculum in all disciplines and at all levels, as well as various areas of student life outside the classroom
  • Assessing service-learning programs and outcomes
  • The dilemmas of service-learning in the context of power and privilege
  • The future of service-learning in online and rapidly globalizing environments

Service-learning has virtually limitless potential to enable colleges and universities to meet their goals for student learning while making unique contributions to addressing unmet local, national, and global needs. However, in order to realize these benefits, service-learning must be thoughtfully designed and carefully implemented. This easy-to-use volume contains everything faculty, leaders, and staff members need to know about service-learning to enhance communities, improve higher education institutions, and educate the next generation of citizens, scholars, and leaders.

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Table of Contents

Figures and Exhibits ix

Dedication x

Foreword xi

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xxii

About the Author xxiv

About Campus Compact xxvi

Chapter 1: Introduction to Service-Learning 1

1.1 What is service-learning? 1

1.2 What are the theoretical foundations of service-learning? 5

1.3 What else can we call service-learning if that term does not work for us? 10

1.4 What are the benefits of service-learning? 11

1.5 What is the history of service-learning? 14

1.6 How widespread is service-learning? 18

1.7 What should an institution offer in the way of service-learning? 21

1.8 How does service-learning vary by institutional type? 23

Conclusion 25

Chapter 2: Understanding and Facilitating Critical Reflection 26

2.1 What is critical reflection? 26

2.2 What are the forms of reflection? 29

2.3 What are the steps in designing and implementing critical reflection? 31

2.4 How can critical reflection empower students to move beyond direct service to other forms of civic and political engagement? 42

2.5 How can I make reflection work in my discipline? 45

2.6 How does reflection work in cocurricular service-learning, especially one-time or short-term experiences? 48

Conclusion 50


Chapter 3: Developing and Sustaining Campus-Community Partnerships for Service-Learning 51

3.1 What are the definition and basic principles of campus-community partnerships for service-learning? 52

3.2 What are the different types of service-learning partnerships? 56

3.3 What are the steps to developing a service-learning partnership? 58

3.4 What are the logistical issues involved in service-learning partnerships? 63

3.5 What are the best practices for developing and sustaining partnerships? 65

3.6 What infrastructure should an institution have in place for developing and sustaining campus-community partnerships? 69

3.7 Should campus-community partnerships include corporate partners? How? 71

3.8 What are the key issues for international partnerships for service-learning? 73

3.9 How can small-scale partnerships for service-learning lead to broader and deeper institutional engagement? 75

Conclusion 79

Chapter 4: Integrating Service-Learning into the Curriculum 80

4.1 When is service-learning the right pedagogy for a course? 80

4.2 How does service-learning work in my discipline? 82

4.3 Is service-learning academically rigorous? 86

4.4 What are the different models for integrating service-learning into the curriculum? 88

4.5 How do I start developing a service-learning course? 100

4.6 How should I assess and grade service-learning? 103

4.7 What are the unique elements of a service-learning syllabus? 106

4.8 What are the logistical issues involved in teaching a service-learning course? 109

4.9 How does service-learning work in an online or blended course? 111

4.10 Should service-learning courses be formally designated? 113

4.11 What does it take to motivate and support faculty to practice service-learning? 115

4.12 How can service-learning be valued in the faculty review, promotion, and tenure process? 117

4.13 How can service-learning lead to the broad and deep engagement of an entire academic department? 119

Conclusion 121

Chapter 5: Designing and Implementing Cocurricular Service-Learning 122

5.1 What is cocurricular service-learning? 122

5.2 What is the relationship between service-learning and student development? 125

5.3 What are the different forms of cocurricular service-learning? 129

5.4 How can service-learning be incorporated into the various areas of student life? 139

5.5 What is the relationship between service-learning and leadership education? 142

5.6 What are the steps in developing cocurricular service-learning experiences? 143

5.7 How can assessment of student learning be done in cocurricular service-learning? 148

5.8 How can service-learning educators support student-initiated and -led service-learning? 150

Conclusion 153

Chapter 6: Assessment of Service-Learning 154

6.1 What does service-learning assessment entail? 154

6.2 What are the possible methods for assessing service-learning? 158

6.3 What issues should we consider in choosing assessment methods? 162

6.4 What should assessment of service-learning student participants comprise? 164

6.5 How should service-learning be assessed from the community perspective? 166

6.6 How should service-learning partnerships be assessed? 170

6.7 What should faculty assessment consist of in regard to service-learning? 171

6.8 What assessment should be done at the institutional level? 174

6.9 What are the challenges of service-learning assessment? How can we address them? 179

Conclusion 182

Chapter 7: Administration of Service-Learning 183

7.1 How do we start with service-learning? 184

7.2 What are the components of a center for service-learning? 191

7.3 What staffing is required for a service-learning center? 192

7.4 Where should service-learning be organizationally located? 193

7.5 Besides a service-learning center, what other elements of institutional infrastructure are necessary to support service-learning? 196

7.6 How should the service-learning center be funded? 199

7.7 How can we demonstrate the value of service-learning? 205

7.8 What are the logistical considerations that service-learning requires? 207

7.9 What liability and risk-management issues do we need to address? 212

7.10 What administrative issues are involved in international service-learning? 216

7.11 How should we recognize outstanding work in service-learning? 220

Conclusion 223

Chapter 8: Facing the Complexities and Dilemmas of Service-Learning 225

8.1 How can service-learning be accessible and appropriate for all students? 225

8.2 Should service-learning be required for graduation? 229

8.3 How should we deal with resistant students? 230

8.4 How can participation in service-learning enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of differences in race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status? Of power and privilege? Of systemic oppression? 232

8.5 What is critical service-learning? Why does it matter? 235

8.6 What is the relationship of service-learning to politics? 239

8.7 Should service-learning be institutionalized? 242

8.8 Can campus-community partnerships really be reciprocal relationships among equals? 245

8.9 Should the focus of service-learning be local or global? 247

Conclusion 252

Chapter 9: Securing the Future of Service-Learning in Higher Education 253

9.1 What assessment and research are needed to validate service-learning as a pedagogy and practice? 253

9.2 How can institutionalizing service-learning secure its future? 260

9.3 What can we do to more fully recognize service-learning, community-based research, and engaged scholarship in the faculty reward system? 262

9.4 What can we learn from international models of service-learning? 265

9.5 What are the service-learning partnerships of the future? 267

9.6 How can we help students develop a global perspective through local service-learning? 272

9.7 What is the role of service-learning in responding to domestic and international humanitarian crises? 274

9.8 What is the future of service-learning in the online environment? 277

9.9 How can service-learning strengthen higher education’s engagement in K–12 schools? 278

9.10 What is the relationship of the future of service-learning to social entrepreneurship? 281

Conclusion 284

References 288

Index 305

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Author Information

Barbara Jacoby is faculty associate for Leadership & Community Service-Learning and affiliate associate professor at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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