College Makes New Connections With Service-Learning Program

CAROL’S SUMMARY: In the past several years, service-learning has spread rapidly throughout communities, K-12 institutions, and colleges and universities. The recently issued report, entitled “Learning in Deed” from the National Commission on Service-Learning (Fiske, 2001) quoted National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) estimates that in the 2000-2001 academic year, more than 13 million school students were involved in service and service-learning.

One of best things about service learning, or volunteering, is that it helps students connect academics to real-world problems. When students have the opportunity to make this connection, it enriches their learning experience and broadens their understanding that the value of an education isn’t only found in what they can get, but in what they can give. Here are some questions to consider if you’re planning to enroll in a service learning program:

1) What kinds of service learning opportunities does the school, college or university you’re attending or considering offer? Is this offered across disciplines or only in the field of sociology?

2) On a scale of 1-5 (1=low; 5=high), how would you rank the quality of your school’s service learning program?

3) In what ways can service learning help you build and demonstrate leadership skills?

4) What kinds of causes are you most passionate about?

5) How are these experiences creating the leader within your child to be world-class ready, i.e. to have the skills and abilities to solve business, world and community problems in the most effective way?


Academic departments at Wagner collaborate with community agencies to deepen students’ volunteerism

By ELYSE ASHBURN, From the Chronicle of Higher Ed, February 27, 2009

Staten Island, N.Y.

Stuffing envelopes instills many qualities: humility, patience, tough fingers, and a pasty tongue. It is not, however, known for expanding the intellect. That’s what college is supposed to do.

And there’s the rub. It has been a persistent tension since the 1990s, when service learning became de rigueur on college campuses. At its most basic, service learning moves volunteer work from campus clubs into the classroom. How that actually plays out varies widely from place to place. Many colleges scatter students across dozens or even hundreds of community groups. Even within a single service-learning course, students might be working with a half-dozen different agencies.

From the Chronicle of Higher Ed, February 27, 2009

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