Fall 2007     ISSN 1096-1453     Volume 11, Issue 3     Editorial (2)

This issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly features a set of diverse service-learning 
topics, ranging from examination of project impacts to curriculum development to student 
assessment and issues of social justice.  

Research on college students and the ways in which they are impacted as learners, 
developing deeper understanding of their academic courses of study provides important 
insights into the role of service-learning in promoting student success.  Doughty & 
Gardiner provide key examples from a capstone course in community health. McDermott 
focuses her study on an examination of the ways in which adult learners develop an 
ethic of caring through service-learning.   Watson & Brophy frame their analysis of 
college student development through the paradigm of civic engagement.  Hoover & 
Casile look at the potential for implementing service-learning in large 
undergraduate classes to develop students’ group management skills.  A technical 
writing class (Hill) and a school-university community research project (Presier-Houy 
& Navarrete) provide further illustrations of the potential for service-learning to 
impact college student learning and development.   

Curriculum development for service-learning instructors requires understanding of 
the philosophy underlying this approach to teaching and learning.  Meggs et al. 
describe the balancing act in creating a course that bridges the gap between between 
theory and practice.  Felice/Kerr/Smith describe the approach their approach to  
reframing a community service learning project in the development of a 
service-learning course, including discussion of assessment issues.         

Sims reminds the reader that the goal of service-learning is to provide benefits 
to the community, engaging college students as mentors for minority youth is an 
appealing service project. Teacher educators look at the ways in which 
pre-service teachers learn how to learn together with children and families in 
schools in elementary schools (Rey), in biology (Vandergon), in reading (Gordon), 
and in education for students with diverse disabilities (Frankson), and education 
for the deaf (Reading/Carlstrand).  While Shannon’s article also focuses on the 
model of college student as mentor, his study examines the tensions that arose in 
negotiating the social and pedagogical terrain of the project.  

The importance of planning assessment from the very inception of service-learning 
courses is critical to achieving success. Deba’s research points to the 
importance of good communication, ongoing feedback and assessment.  Barnard et al. 
describe the role of assessment in screening and developing excellent mentors for 
service-learning projects; Seamans-Blatner further describes assessment techniques 
used to measure project impacts.  

Diverse agendas and interpretations of service-learning are highlighted by Findley 
in her discussion and reconceptualization of “community partners” in service-learning.
Her article addresses issues of social justice, mutuality and voice.  Shaw provides 
another window of analysis, describing a creative model for application of business 
principles to developing service-learning partnerships.

We welcome you to this special issue!  
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, Fall 2008.
See Index to all published articles.