Disciplinary Pathways to Service Learning
How to Use this
David Droge, Ph.D.
University of Puget Sound
I begin with a metaphor borrowed from another
domain; the movement to link community service with academic study
is a kind of collage. As a work of art, a collage contains
objects that have a double meaning: they originated in one context
but have been incorporated into a new work. The educators whose
essays comprise this monograph are combining a number of educational
traditions into a new whole. They have found creative and engaging
ways to bring course content to life by having students study
that material as they encounter the world outside the classroom.
At the same time, these educators' work reaffirms a central purpose
of American higher education: preparation of students for citizenship
and civic engagement. Finally, their work helps community colleges
enact their mission of service to their local communities.
The essays in this monograph affirm the strengths of community
college education--the emphasis on teaching as a means of unlocking
students' learning, the desire to combine theoretical knowledge
with practical wisdom, and profound respect for students' varying
cultural traditions and learning styles. In his 1995 book Dogmatic
Wisdom Russell Jacoby observed that community colleges are
now enrolling more than half of all students currently attending
college. Hence the work of community college faculty and staff
will play an increasingly important role in shaping the postsecondary
educational experiences of future students in the United States.
As educators committed to service-learning, these authors report
their experiences with this pedagogy for the consideration of
their peers. At the same time, this monograph helps document
the early stages of a national movement which is still fairly
young. The tone of the essays here reflects the passion for teaching,
the dedication to discipline-based content, and the struggle for
curricular integration of these authors. The tone of this volume
was set in a workshop at the Campus Compact National Center for
Community Colleges conference last Spring in Phoenix. At that
session educators wrote their answers to three questions: What
is your work? How is your work related to you job? How is your
work related to your academic training? They discovered their
service-learning experiences helped them connect their training,
their work, and their jobs in a powerful fashion. We realized
then that their personal stories were a vital part of the development
of their service-learning courses. Although their styles vary
considerably, each of the essays in this monograph is permeated
with the personal narratives of the authors.
Hints for Readers
Different readers will find different sections of this monograph
more immediately interesting and useful. Readers who are unfamiliar
with the term "service-learning" are invited to begin
with Sue McAleavey's outline of a "Theory and Rationale"
for service-learning. That essay, along with President Deborah
DiCroce's Foreword to this volume, provides an excellent general
overview of the importance and advantages of this pedagogy.
The second section contains essays that link service-learning
to specific disciplines. Many of these essays come from an ambitious
project at Kapi'olani Community College in the University of Hawai'i
system. Read together, these essays speak to the power of institutional
commitment and faculty cooperation in enacting service-learning.
Specific courses, including some samples of course syllabi, are
listed under each essay in the Table of Contents. These courses
are identified to aid readers interested in specific fields or
The third section contains essays describing the incorporation
of service-learning into programs targeted for specific populations,
e.g., students attending tribal colleges, non-native speakers
of English, or students "at-risk" for leaving college
before finishing their studies. To me this section is the most
rewarding, because the work of the faculty and staff involved
in these programs speak eloquently to the educational power of
combining service with academic study.
The final section contains print resources, organizations, and
a list of electronic resources for those seeking further information.
Prepared by Gail Robinson of the American Association of Community
Colleges and Maria Hesse of the Business Faculty at Chandler-Gilbert
Community College, this section should help those readers who
do not find their particular courses or programs described in
these essays. In combination with the overview essays, the resources
listed in this section should provide educators new to service-learning
with a sense of the field.
Finally, I hope all readers will sample from a number of the
essays in this monograph. Many of the suggestions offered would
be of help to anyone designing a course which includes service-learning.
As the compiler of this document, I have read each essay several
times. I continue to be encouraged in my own work and my own
job by the learning reported here. Both the students affected
by these authors, and these educators themselves, live on these
pages. I invite all readers to share in their work. I believe
they have documented one of the most meaningful aspects of higher
education in the United States in the 1990's.
I would like to close by expressing my appreciation and admiration
to each of the people who contributed to this collection. I especially
want to thank the staff at CCNCCC, particularly Lyvier Conss,
Executive Director, and Terry Pickeral, Coordinator of Instructional
Programs, for the opportunity to participate in this project.