Articles

Assessment and impact

At a Glance: What we Know about the Effects of Service-Learning on College Students, Faculty, Institutions and Communities

Author: Janet S. Eyler, Dwight E.Giles, Jr., Christine M. Stenson, and Charlene J. Gray
Source: Vanderbilt University, August 31, 2001
Summary: "At A Glance" summarizes the findings of service-learning research in higher education over the past few years and includes an annotated bibliography. It is designed to provide a quick overview of where we are in the field today and a map to the literature.

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Impact of Service-Learning and Social Justice Education on College Students’ Cognitive Development

Author(s): Yan Wang and Robert Rodgers
Source: NASPA Journal, 20, Vol. 43, no. 2
Summary: This study used the Measure of Epistemology Reflection to explore the impact of service-learning and social justice education on college students’ cognitive development. Six service-learning courses taught with or without a social justice emphasis were studied. Results showed that service-learning courses in general had a positive impact on students’ cognitive development, while service-learning courses with a social justice emphasis appeared to have more impact on students’ cognitive development than those without a social justice emphasis.

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Service-Learning and Academic Success: The Links to Retention Research

Author: Dan Simonet
Source: Minnesota Campus Compact, May 2008
Summary: Emerging research on service-learning validates a longstanding philosophy: integrating academics and community service delivers greater student leadership development, enriched learning, and improved academic performance. By relating the growing evidence of service-learning’s benefits to the theoretical explanations of student retention, we can craft an even clearer vision of how each field may enhance the other. By fusing the best of both disciplines, we can begin expanding the boundaries of student retention to make visible new ideas; create stronger, more seamless institutional practices; further embed effective practices of civic engagement; and establish new, positive relationships among different departments of higher education. This brief provides a general overview of the relationship that exists between these two fields. It argues, that service-learning should be thought of as a process that creates greater student engagement, which in turn results in the product of student retention. The overall intent is to provide a clearer foundation in the research that supports the way that service-learning is related to student success. In doing so, we will encourage dynamic collaborations between our offices of civic engagement and our institutional initiatives to improve retention.

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Service-Learning in Life-Span Developmental Psychology: Higher Exam Scores and Increased Empathy

Author: Brenda Lundy
Summary: This article describes research conducted to evaluate the impact of service-learning on exam scores and emotional empathy in a life-span development course. Service-learning was one of three project options offered in the course; others included an interview project and a research paper. With the exception of the first exam, scores were significantly higher for the service-learning students compared to those who completed other projects. In addition, only the service-learning group demonstrated a significant increase in emotional empathy as measured by the Emotional Empathetic Tendency Scale (EETS; Mehrabian&Epstein, 1972). I discuss the results in terms of the relations among practical experience, reflection, and emotional empathy.

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Implementing Service-Learning in Higher Education

Author(s): Robert G. Bringle and Julie A. Hatcher
Source: The Journal of Higher Education, Vol.67, No. 2 (Mar. - Apr., 1996), pp. 221-239
Summary: The current interest in service-learning provides universities with a unique opportunity to engage their students in community service, expand their educational agenda, and build reciprocal partnerships with the community. This article discusses the implementation of service-learning by delineating a set of activities for four constituencies: institution, faculty, students, and community.

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The Impact of Service-Learning on Ethnocentrism in an Intercultural Communication Course

Author: Amanda Welch Borden
Source: Journal of Experiential Education, 2007, Volume 30, No.2 pp. 171-183
Summary: This study analyzes a project involving students enrolled in an intercultural communication class that employs service-learning. Participants were given the Generalized Ethnocentrism (GENE) scale developed by Neuliep and McCroskey at the beginning and conclusion of a semester of service-learning with a cultural group different than their own. Results indicate a significant decrease in ethnocentrism from the beginning to the end of the semester. Analysis of students' written reflections about their service experiences reinforces the conclusion that service-learning played a part in reducing ethnocentrism. Although further research is needed to provide a control for the manipulation, there is a preliminary indication that service-learning with diverse cultures may provide a type of consistent, deep, and meaningful contact that leads to lower levels of ethnocentrism. 

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Principles and best practices

Building Effective Partnerships in Service-Learning

Source: National Service-Learning Clearinghouse, 2008.
Summary: Effective partnerships between agencies, schools, colleges or universities, businesses, government, and residents for the benefits of the community are a vital part of youth service in America. This fact sheet provides resources that will get you thinking about how to develop and sustain these partnerships.

Building Effective Partnerships in Service-Learning

Connecting Communities with Colleges and Universities

Source: America’s Promise—The Alliance for Youth
Summary: Strategies to Strengthen Local Promise Efforts Through Higher Education Involvement.

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Embedded Engagement: Communities Magnify the Value of Engaged Practices 

Author: Zoe Freeman
Source: Campus Compact
Summary: This paper is written from a community partner perspective and reflects Freeman’s convictions, gained over 14 years of working with service-learning students at the Pike Market Senior Center in Seattle. Freeman speaks of a vision for the future of our cities and communities, where issues of social inequity and environmental degradation are met with informed, lasting solutions.

Embedded Engagement: Communities Magnify the Value of Engaged Practices  

How Higher Education is Integrating Diversity and Service-Learning: Findings from Four Case Studies

Author: Lori J.Vogelgesang, with research support from Marcy Drummond and Shannon K. Gilmartin
Source: California Campus Compact, 2003 

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Research University Engage Scholarship Toolkit 

Source: Campus Compact, Update 2010
Summary: This toolkit offers a guide to the best resources on engaged scholarship, along with models, exemplars, and original essays. Developed by The Research University Civic Engagement Network, for which Campus Compact serves as coordinator, the toolkit offers information and resources for all institutions seeking to implement or expand engaged scholarship on campus. 

Research University Engage Scholarship Toolkit 

What is Experiential Learning?

Author: James W. Gentry
Source: Guide to Business Gaming and Experiential Learning, 1990.
Summary: This chapter has delineated several criteria which can be used to help evaluate whether a particular teaching methodology can be classified as facilitating experiential learning. Experiential learning is participative, interactive, and applied. It allows contact with the environment, and exposure to processes that are highly variable and uncertain. It involves the whole person; learning takes place on the affective and behavioral dimensions as well as on the cognitive dimension.

The experience needs to be structured to some degree; relevant learning objectives need to be specified and the conduct of the experience needs to be monitored. Students need to evaluate the experience in light of theory and in light of their own feelings. And, process feedback needs to be provided to the student to complement (and possibly supersede) the outcome feedback received by the student. A wide variety of pedagogies have been labeled as involving experiential learning; the use of the criteria can help evaluate their experiential learning potential. Approaches such as computer-assisted instruction may fall short on the “experience” Criteria (contact with environment, variability, uncertainty, interactive, etc.). On the other hand, approaches such as internships are strong on the experience criteria but may yield highly variable learning due to the lack of structure and to the difficulty associated with providing process feedback. Approaches such as live cases would appear to meet most of the criteria easily.

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Syllabus and course design

Syllabi

Source: Campus Compact
Summary: In this section, you will find more than 300 exemplary service-learning syllabi across a wide variety of disciplines.

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Inspiration

To Hell with Good Intentions

Author: Ivan Illich
Source: Volunteer Bolivia
Summary: An address by Monsignor Ivan Illich to the Conference on InterAmerican Student Projects in Cuernavaca, Mexico, on April 20, 1968. In his usual biting and sometimes sarcastic style, Illich goes to the heart of the deep dangers of paternalism inherent in any voluntary service activity, but especially in any international service "mission." Parts of the speech are outdated and must be viewed in the historical context of 1968 when it was delivered, but the entire speech is retained for the full impact of his point and at Illich's request.

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Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work

Author(s): Fay Hanleybrown, John Kania, and Mark Kramer
Source: Stanford Social Innovation Review, 2012
Summary: An in-depth look at how organizations of all types, acting in diverse settings, are implementing a collective impact approach to solve large-scale social problems.

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Reflection

Reflection: Linking Service and Learning—Linking Students and Communities

Author: Janet Eyler
Source: Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 58, No. 3, 2002, pp. 517—534
Summary: While research on service-learning has been mixed, there is evidence to suggest that service–learning programs which thoroughly integrate service and academic learning through continuous reflection promote development of the knowledge, skills, and cognitive capacities necessary for students to deal effectively with the complex social issues that challenge citizens. While there is not much research in the service–learning literature that specifically addresses techniques of reflection, evidence from studies of problem–based learning, situated cognition, and cognitive development suggests approaches to reflection that will enhance the power of service-learning in attaining these important goals which facilitate full community participation. This review presents concrete suggestions about this type of program.

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Reflection

Modified by Anne Wyscocki for the Corporation for National Service
Source: Career and Community Center, University of Minnesota
Summary: This section describes a process that faculty can use for structuring the reflection process. The approach described in the following section can be used regardless of specific S-L educational outcomes. However, before following the process outlined in this section, faculty must carefully consider the links between service-learning outcomes, reflection, and assessment.

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