Volume 12, Issue 3     Editorial (1)
This issue of AEQ examines service-learning and its impacts on students, curricula, assessment methods and programmatic structures in higher education; several of the articles provide illustrative examples of program implementation and describe measurement tools that have been developed to produce the evidence that is demanded by administrators, funders and policymakers. Darby et al., and Buch, for example provide illustrations of service-learning courses that have played a role in changing student attitudes and developing new ways of thinking about teaching and learning. These articles look at the processes through which perspectives are changed and learning communities are established and developed in higher education programs. Pelletieri & Varona describe a model through which university faculty refocused instruction for second language learners, arguing for the transformation of curricula and programs to meet the needs of today’s changing demographics. Today’s increasing demands for accountability require advocates of service-learning pedagogy to provide evidence of claims for its value and the validity. Educational researchers must provide data to back up the claims made by advocates if service-learning is to move from “the margins to the mainstream” of educational practice. Grossman & Redvers-Lee and Hewitt argue for the need to expand the focus of research methods, outlining the need for attention to interpretive frameworks and measuring the value of engagement. Nelson et al. describe a mixed methods design that revealed impacts on pre-service teachers’ efficacy in a service-learning program; Lavooy’s study used a 2 x 2 factorial design to determine the influences of service-learning on college students’ attitudes towards diversity. Ericson & Ford’s study relied on qualitative methods, leading to an analysis of service-learning impacts in a social work education class. Grams’ study provides data suggesting that on-line delivery of service-learning coursework has great potential; however, the author cautions that care must be taken to address potential pitfalls. A number of articles in this issue illustrate exemplary models of service-learning in action. Three of these articles describe cases of service-learning in diverse disciplines – public health (Jamison et al.), nutrition education (Sinclair & Zinger) and general chemistry (Eichler). Kessler et al. describe a unique service-learning project in Hawaii that engages community collaboration; Esposito & Warner’s article looks at service-learning’s implications for international outreach. Finally, Aleman et al.’s article addresses key ingredients and foundational bases that established a successful service-learning initiative within an academic and social community. We are pleased to provide readers with this diverse and descriptive array of studies. The present issue provides a rich basis for educators to expand their service-learning knowledge and to take a look at what is taking place in the field. The topics presented here provide examples of the work that is being done and deepens our understanding of the work still left to do. Judith Munter, Ph.D. and Hector Hernandez, Jr. M.A. Candidate University of Texas at El PasoCFP for the next service-learning issue Community Partnerships Fall 2009.
See all published SERVICE articles.