Learning From Service Learning
Dr. Earl Mulderink III.
At Southern Utah University, faculty in the multidisciplinary Department of Social Sciences have incorporated service-learning programs in history and sociology, and are actively involved in assessing its value to students, the campus, and community. Sociology students have been required to perform volunteer work in local social service agencies, while history students have been required to complete a wide range of self-chosen projects in community and family history. Faculty believe that the best strategy for students to learn effectively is to apply their academic knowledge and skills in a real-life setting. Although we believe that students' education will become more meaningful, how do we assess what they have learned and gained through a wide variety of service-learning activities? This paper discusses viable assessment techniques and data that can be used to examine three levels of learning: academic, community, and personal. By using survey instruments and analysis in different disciplines within the same department, we seek to determine the value of service-learning to students in both general education courses and in courses aimed at majors. Our methods and findings will be useful to all educators who tout the value of service-learning but who lack useful data or measurable assessments of such activities. This paper advances assessment efforts and research so that students and faculty will continue to learn from service-learning.
Dr. Earl Mulderink III (United States)
Department of Social Sciences
Southern Utah University
Chair, Department of Social Sciences, and Associate Professor of History, Southern Utah University.
(30 min. Conference Paper, English)