Spring 2006     ISSN 1096-1453     Volume 10, Issue 1     Editorial (2)

This special issue features a variety of scholarly articles that explore applied 
research on service-learning and its potential for expanding student learning, 
improving communities, and building bridges across cultural/social/geopolitical 
boundaries.  Several of the authors include specific guidance on course development, 
discussing the challenges and opportunities for implementing student-led projects 
in diverse contexts (urban and rural, K-12 and higher education, global and domestic).  
Foley describes his own five years of experience in teaching a service-learning 
course, describing the ways in which he has learned through experience the value of 
integrating objectives such as development of cultural awareness and appreciation of 
diversity in shaping the ongoing evolution of a capstone course in Construction 
Management.  Purmensky explores expanding roles for technology in enhancing 
reflective feedback in service-learning courses, building capacity in collaboration 
with community partners, and strengthening learning communities.  

A unique component of service-learning project design is its focus on reciprocity 
and mutual exchanges of new knowledge and understanding.   This dimension is 
highlighted in articles by Jones & Esposito, Millhouse, Gibson, Paris, and Kapucu et 
al.    Articles by Jones & Esposito and Millhouse examine some of the unique 
challenges of developing authentic partnerships between universities and communities 
in the context of foreign studies programs.  Their articles illustrates the 
opportunities for continual learning and reflection while striving to find the 
balance between responding to community needs in unfamiliar cultural terrains and 
developing college students’ academic/professional skills.   Gibson carries this 
point even further by reflecting on the role of faculty members in designing, 
evaluating and documenting the value of service-learning courses and programs of 
study.    Rather than striving to maintain a neutral stance and remain on the 
outside as a disengaged observer, Gibson writes about the powerful ways in which 
her students’ community service learning projects have transformed her own 
experience in academia.  On a broader level, her reflective essay helps 
scholars/practitioners to assess the value-added of community-based learning when 
instruction focuses, at least in part, on social justice themes.   

The Paris article approaches other borders and boundaries in his description of 
service-learning with prison inmates, citing Foucault and Angela Davis’ critical 
analyses of the prison-industrial complex.   His article discusses possibilities 
for university students to discover the humanity of inmates at the intersection of 
prison education with service-learning courses.  Kapucu and Petruscu address issues 
of capacity building in the community.  Their article compares and contrasts two 
community service learning courses in Florida and Michigan, exploring the 
differences and similarities between practical approaches, goals and outcomes in 
the two, using concepts of social capital and capacity building in building 
effective partnerships between universities and community organizations.  

Articles by Halfacre et al and Waggener provide new perspectives on study of 
service-learning’s impacts on student participants.  Their articles look at the 
ways in which well-designed programs can enhance student attitudes, civic 
commitment, and social/political connections to their own communities.  Regan 
further explores service-learning impacts by engaging special education students 
in a teacher preparation program with emotionally disturbed children.   

In what ways will service-learning expand opportunities for student learning, 
improve  communities, and build bridges across boundaries in schools, communities 
and universities in the 21st century?  This issue of AEQ presents the work of 
scholars who describe and analyze these and other important dimensions of 
service-learning’s impacts on their own research and practice. We hope that these 
papers will engage readers in considering new possibilities for their own research 
and practice.  
Judith H. Munter, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Research, College of Education
University of Texas at El Paso

CFP for the next Service-Learning issue, Spring 2007.
See Index to all published articles.