Thsi Week's Message
Service-learning is a pedagogical tool that provides an incredibly meaningful way to apply classroom knowledge by serving a community in need. It has been identified as one of the most powerful of the "High-impact Educational Practices" (Kuh, 2008). Unlike internships or volunteering, service-learning requires clear and intentional connections between topics in the class and the service work. A reflective assignment makes the impact on students even more profound and long-lasting. Service-learning produces potent, transformative experiences which have been shown to increase intercultural sensitivity and social responsibility. In addition, there is evidence that service-learning improves student academic learning, communication skills, moral development, and long-term civic engagement. The benefits go well beyond those for the students and the community. A college reaps the rewards of an increase in graduation rates and alumnae satisfaction with the school (see links and references below).
Service-learning has been shown to improve campus diversity by increasing the retention rates of students of color (Roose et al, 1997) and improving the campus climate for diversity due to "reduced stereotyping and greater tolerance" (Eyler and Giles, 1999). "As reported in Diversity Digest the January 2000 report, "How Service Learning Affects Students," revealed that performing service as part of a course and offering the opportunity for students to process their service experience with other students added significantly to the advantages associated with community service. ("Service Learning Has Positive Impact on Key Student Learning and Diversity Outcomes," Diversity Digest (Spring/Summer 2000)." See: http://www.diversityweb.org/Digest/Sp.Sm00/service.html
Augustana College is already offering many service-learning opportunities for students to serve communities... locally, nationally, and internationally. We are committed to increasing these through institutional support of the faculty members who are interested in developing a service-learning project in their courses. The Office of Service-Learning in the Community Engagement Center has the resources to help you create an outstanding experience for your students. To learn more, contact me (Darrin Good) and come to the next Friday Conversation (January 14): Service Learning Workshop: You have an idea? Let's make it happen!
To read more evidence supporting the myriad of benefits to students, faculty and colleges, go to: http://www.compact.org/wp-content/uploads/resources/downloads/aag.pdf
To see an Executive Summary of the HERI study, "How Service Learning Affects Students," read: http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/slc/rhowas.
Eyler J., and D.E. Giles, Jr. 1999. Where's the learning in service-learning? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Kuh, G.D. 2008. High-impact education practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Roose, D., J. Daphne, A.G. Miller, W. Norris, R. Peacock, C. White, and G. White. 1997. Black student retention study: Oberlin College. Oberlin, OH: Oberlin College.
Dr. Darrin Good
Director of Service Learning and Leadership Initiatives