e, at  Academic Exchange Quarterly, have been delighted 
to see the steady stream of high quality articles on service-learning 
and its relationship with educational research, practice, and policy 
in recent years. The growing popularity of service-learning holds 
much promise for renewing higher education and for bringing new forces 
to bear on academia's linkage with community development.  To fulfill 
its potential, however, this new approach to teaching and learning 
faces two major challenges: 1) becoming an integral part of the academic 
life of the university, while 2) still providing relevant and valuable 
services to the community. It is easy for programs to slip down one slope 
or another from this pinnacle - either becoming strictly volunteer 
service endeavors with little integral relation to the university's 
academic mission, or becoming internship and laboratory opportunities 
for students without relevance to true community development needs.  

We won't make much headway in devising service-learning approaches that 
meet these two challenges unless we understand better just what indeed 
does transpire during the service-learning encounter, how the meeting 
of academic concerns and community needs takes place in the daily lives 
of those involved, and the impacts it produces on communities, educational 
institutions and individual participants.   

This issue of AEQ, our "Guide to Service-Learning," attempts to provide 
an overview of the wide range of issues that have attracted the interest 
of both service-learning researchers and practitioners.  Beginning with 
the connections between service-learning and praxis, this volume reviews 
some of the philosophical bases of service-learning.  While some critics 
have suggested that this approach to education rests on a set of beliefs 
similar to those of traditional volunteerism, authors here contend that 
the foundational bases of service-learning rest on notions of reciprocity, 
moving participants beyond the charity model to one of social justice and 
empowerment.  The authors in this volume point to specific examples of 
ways in which this change in perspective leads to the development of new 
vision, the inclusion of new voices and multiple viewpoints.  When all 
involved in learning communities engage in authentic dialogue on the 
design, development and goals of these new programs, the outcomes provide 
numerous potential benefits.  Finally, this issue provides opportunities 
for readers to listen to some of the voices from the field.  Drawing on 
the growing knowledge banks of research on service-learning programs, 
practitioners from across the disciplines share their insights and 
experiences.  

As we move into the new millennium, educational researchers, policymakers 
and practitioners are considering new approaches to teaching and learning.  
These new perspectives can assist us in raising new questions, leading us 
to question assumptions, cultivating an appreciation for complexity, and 
expanding our frames of reference.  The combination of service and learning 
in higher education is one promising approach to changing the set of lenses 
through which we view teaching and learning.  

When I first set out on my own journey of exploration and discovery in 
higher education, I was guided by twenty years of previous experiences 
as a service-learning participant both in the USA and Latin America.   
These invaluable opportunities had enriched and broadened my own learning 
and development. Working side by side with others from diverse backgrounds, 
I realized that this perspective on learning from experience in the context 
of authentic community settings, has long been shared by a wide variety of  
learners. My own personal odyssey, then, has connected me with colleagues 
engaged in research and reflective practice. While there is much diversity 
in our backgrounds, we are united in our efforts to look back on where 
we've been personally and professionally as service-learning collaborators, 
and to explicate more fully where we envision ourselves going as we move 
into the 21st century. I invite the reader to join us on this journey!


Judith H. Munter, Ph.D.
University of Texas at El Paso

PS
The following book was recently received in the AEQ office:
Writing Partnerships : Service-Learning in Composition
by Thomas Deans
National Council of Teachers of English
ISBN: 0814159184