Service Learning and Engaged Scholarship

A longstanding facet in service learning is the ability to translate service learning partnerships into sustained opportunities for the integration of research, teaching, and service (Bringle and Hatcher, 1996). We have created our own model that demonstrates that steps to creating a sustained engaged partnership. 

  1. Creating a Community Project– this is the phase in which faculty members collaborate with community partners and engage in building a project that meets community or constituency needs and achieves student learning outcomes. Contacting community partners directly, or collaborating with the Office of Public Engagement to find a need in the community is a great way to start.
  2. Sustained Partnership– your partnership will evolve, as needs change, curriculum evolves, and both you and your community liaison become better aware of how to maximize the strengths of the partnership. One consideration is to think about the state of your partnership using the model developed by IUPUI (see page 8).Once the partnership is stabilized, you have the opportunity to think about potential scholarship. Some service learning faculty conduct participatory action research, in which faculty and students conduct a research project shaped to fit a need identified by the community partner. Others use the opportunity to conduct “teaching as research” and explore the service learning pedagogy with the impact of their field.
  3. Research, Data Collection, Analysis, and Communication of Findings– upon the conclusion of your project(s), your findings are shared with the appropriate constituencies in collaboration with your community partner. We recommend that you and your community partners engage in conversation throughout the development of your project- especially as to how you want to share findings. There are opportunities to present at conferences (academic and professional), publish in academic, practitioner, and/or popular sources, or advocate using data and reports. We recommend looking at a list of articles complied by the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship for disciplinary examples of engaged scholarship.  Because we believe in sustained relationships, we hope that faculty and community partners consider various opportunities for funding their partnership that come with the combined resources of an institution and community organization.
  4. Service and Non-Service Learning- we’ve included some key benchmarks to consider as you begin creating and moving through a service learning partnership. We recommend “The Unheard Voices: Community Organizations and Service Learning” edited by Stoecker, Tyron, and Hilgendorf (2009) for further considerations of community partners needs.