The Community is Our Classroom: Academic Service-learning in College Courses

By Jan LaBonty and Elizabeth LaBonty.

Published by The International Journal of Humanities Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The philosophical roots of service learning can be traced to theorists who believed that active engagement was necessary for learning to occur. The components of successful service learning projects include dynamic participation, well-organized experiences that further academic goals, opportunities for reflection, a focus on the needs of the community, and the application of skills germane to coursework (Billig 2000). Calls for accountability and evidence-based practices in higher education reinforce a ‘new model for excellence’, one that includes meaningful partnerships between schools and communities (Zlotkowski 1998).
Service learning positively affects academic performance and life skills (Astin and Sax 1998). Students who participate in service learning projects agree that the individual can bring about societal changes, a tenet of social justice. Based on two years of involving students across disciplines with service learning projects, this paper will describe/share methods of selecting project, completing, and assessing service learning projects with the Millennial generation.

Keywords: Service Learning, Academic Service Learning, The Millennial Generation

The International Journal of Humanities Education, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp.33-39. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 430.124KB).

Dr. Jan LaBonty

Professor, The Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences, The University of Montana, The University of Montana, Missoula, MT, USA

I am a former elementary teacher who teaches elementary reading and language arts methods classes to undergraduate and graduate students who will be or who are teachers. My research area focuses on writing methods and designing field experiences that extend the course content and provide opportunities for my students to make a difference in the community.

Elizabeth LaBonty

Lecturer, Internship Coordinator, Department of Animal Science, The University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA

I am currently a lecturer and the Internship Coordinator for the Department of Animal Science at the University of Kentucky. I teach a variety of classes connected to the Equine Initiative in Kentucky and supervise the intern semester required of all majors as they work in the industry. My current interests include the service learning component of our degree program and developing partnerships between the community and the university.