ervice-Learning: Coming of Age.  
For the past five years my work in higher education has centered around 
service-learning. As an administrator who helped establish the Montana 
Campus Compact, I was one of an initial group of colleagues working to 
attract member campuses and inform them about the uses and benefits of 
service-learning. The goal of the Compact (both nationally and at the 
state level) was and is to make community outreach an integral part of 
campus life and undergraduate education. In the early days of the Compact, 
my job entailed "pounding the pavement" (quite literally, as Montana is a 
big state) to familiarize people with the terms "service" and "learning" 
and to provide examples and rationales for how these two concepts fit 
together.

Many people were skeptical. Although they agreed that "service" was part 
of their institution's mission, their vision of service entailed deciding 
which students would be admitted to programs, not service that involved 
taking those students into communities where they could apply classroom 
knowledge to community needs. People agreed that this was a noble pursuit, 
but one best carried out by students on their own time or in departments 
of social work.

I was relentless. I accepted as both a personal and professional challenge 
getting people on college campuses, particularly faculty members, to see 
the efficacy of service-learning across the curriculum--in chemistry, 
mining engineering, nursing, and social work. Certainly, not everyone 
should or will utilize the learning strategies supported by community 
outreach in their classrooms, but my goal was to make faculty realize that 
they could use service-learning if they so chose, regardless of their 
discipline. In my view service-learning could and should transcend 
disciplinary boundaries.

The integration of community service into the curriculum is not a new 
concept. Higher education's roots in the community and in service to 
society are traditions that have been around since the founding of Harvard 
in 1636. Service-learning has, however, enjoyed in recent years the 
recognition and support of several organizations that have brought to 
light the power and presence of service-learning and its place in the 
college curriculum. Campus Compact, the National Service Learning 
Clearinghouse, the Campus Outreach Opportunity League, and perhaps most 
importantly the Corporation for National Service, a federal agency that 
has supported a myriad of service-learning projects on campuses throughout 
the country, have all been instrumental in bringing to light the powerful 
learning that can take place through purposeful connections between service 
and learning.

Service-learning is no longer an anomaly on college campuses, a concept 
that one mentions to the response of "Oh yeah, we do internships." Many 
institutions sponsor offices of service-learning to support faculty and 
students in their community outreach efforts. Talk of service-learning can 
be heard at faculty senate meetings, in student unions, and in college 
classrooms. Service-learning has also made an entrance and presence in the 
research literature. It's not uncommon to find journals focusing on 
service-learning or, as in this edition of Academic Exchange Quarterly, 
special issues dedicated to service-learning.

For this special edition on service-learning, AEQ received more article 
submissions than for any other issue. The popularity of the service-learning 
edition of AEQ attests to the success of our efforts to put service-learning 
prominently on the curricular landscape. Although it has been an integral 
part of higher education from the very beginning, it is fair to say that 
service-learning has finally arrived.  My own journey as an advocate for 
service-learning has taken me from my Compact work in Montana, to the 
directorship of the service-learning office at The University of Montana, 
to the professoriate. I participate in scholarship centered around 
service-learning and teach courses inclusive of service-learning. I knew 
my passion for service-learning had paid off by two experiences this fall. 
In a graduate course on the history of higher education (yes, it has a 
service-learning component!) I heard a student mention that a service-learning 
project in which she participated was one of the most significant aspects 
of her career in higher education. My avocation was further affirmed just 
an hour ago when the president of the graduate student association asked me 
to talk about service-learning at an upcoming meeting, since most students 
are finding it part of their courses. These responses were only dreams when 
I started on this journey in 1994. Today, they are part of the reality 
indicated by the articles in this special volume.

When I read the articles in this volume, I see a field of inquiry and 
practice that is evolving to address the complexities that emerge with 
growth. The articles range from explanations and outcomes of particular 
programs to the development of standards and competencies. Articles explore 
the intricacies of collaboration and ethics, as well as offer sage advice 
on integrating service-learning into the curriculum, and tips on public 
relations. I think you'll agree that the diversity in this service-learning 
issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly attests to the possibilities 
service-learning has for transforming higher education into an institution 
that actively promotes civic engagement and social responsibility.

Kelly Ward
Subject Editor