Spring 2005     ISSN 1096-1453     Volume 9, Issue 1     Editorial (1)
In this special issue on service-learning,
authors describe teaching/learning/service processes embedded in programs of study 
incorporating service-learning in diverse contexts. These programs offer powerful 
possibilities for students to develop new attitudes and skills, and the articles 
provide an overview of student outcomes vis-à-vis academic achievement, appreciation 
of diversity and personal/professional development. Institutional changes resulting 
from service-learning’s impacts include the increased linkage between discrete 
courses, faculty/student involvement.  While many of these articles describe 
service-learning’s impacts on undergraduate students some of them describe graduate 
level projects, (e.g., scholars from the University of Georgia, describes the 
potential for service-learning to enhance the role of doctoral programs of study in 
preparing professional scholars for today’s complex workforce).  

Service-learning holds great potential for allowing students to play a key role in 
developing ethical programs and projects that provide benefits for communities as 
well. The article from the University of Utah discuss the role of service-learning 
in enabling young students to develop a high school project aimed at improving the 
community’s environmental health, emphasizing community health impacts, public 
awareness, and policy recommendations to promote change.  Drake University scholars 
describe a project that helps graduate students to investigate the impacts of 
“digital citizenship” in a service-learning laboratory.     

International contexts for engaging students in service-learning are discussed in 
the articles from Georgia and Pace. The authors from these institutions describe the 
process of developing intentional, integrated programs of studies in the 
international context.  Their papers describe the transformational model, with 
improved learning outcomes and positive impacts for student participants. 

Finally, some of the potential problems associated with service-learning are defined 
and described from both sides of the debate by Whitfield.   Her paper reminds the 
reader that service-learning does not always yield the “win-win” consequences that 
its advocates and supporters have described and documented in many institutions.    
She reminds the reader that there are important dimensions of the service-learning 
experience that must be taken into account, including careful planning and formative 
assessment of the process, to achieve the intended outcomes.  While Carlan and 
Rubin’s project in south Texas, for example, resulted in more caring teacher 
education students, the process of re-examining their own previously held 
assumptions and re-constructing their attitudes and beliefs were key elements in 
that transformational process.  Campana’s article takes this careful planning and 
attention to the re-examination of college students’ role in the process even 
further.  She highlights the mutuality of the interaction by describing an 
interactive lesson as an example of how theater can be used to teach academic or 
social subjects.   As the university students gain valuable information about 
drama and pedagogy from the fourth grades, they also learn a valuable lesson 
about the mutuality of this event, and understand that they are not the only ones 
providing in important service.

Another AEQ special issue on service-learning in higher education will appear again 
in the spring of 2006.  I encourage readers to join the growing number of scholars 
and practitioners from around the nation who are implementing this innovative 
approach to teaching and learning in a wide variety of contexts, documenting the 
processes and impacts and disseminating their findings with others in this public 
Judith H. Munter, Ph.D. Service-learning Editor
Associate Dean for Research, College of Education
University of Texas at El Paso

CFP for the next Service-learning issue, Spring 2006.
See Index to all published articles.