Come in … explore … share your thoughts and questions … invite your colleagues to join us … and check in often to stay engaged in the ongoing conversation.
What are we doing?
Check out the “About” page to learn more about the SLCE-FDP and contact us if you’d like to become a contributor.
Check out the “Curators/Contributors” section
Why are we here?
To cite the intentions we lay out in the Fall 2015 Special Section of the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, this project “…is intended to catalyze, facilitate, organize, and analyze international conversations in a way that positions everyone involved as a co-educator, co-learner, and co-generator of new questions and new knowledge. It is intended to stimulate and assemble ideas from new and established voices, from champions and critical friends, throughout and beyond the SLCE community as well as to enrich dialogue about the future and inform current and future practice and policy. Our primary objective is to form an inclusive learning community to support, inform, sustain, and excite our colleagues and ourselves in thinking creatively and collaboratively about the future of SLCE.”
Interested in joining the community? For a complete list of opportunities to get involved, click here.
Interested in pursuing any of these options? Connect with us at https://www.vacances-scolaires-gouv.com
WHAT ARE OUR VISIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF SERVICE-LEARNING & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT (SLCE)? WHY? WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO GET THERE?
If the challenge of 1995 [when I wrote “Does Service-Learning Have a Future?”] was to create the academic resources that would make the SLCE movement more than an educational epiphenomenon, the challenge of 2015 may be to decide how best to collaborate and direct the resources we do have – academic and non-academic, campus-based and community-based – so that more communities flourish despite the mounting challenges of today’s world. At the very least we should ask how our awareness of the inequality, injustice, racism, and other forms of identity-based oppression that devalue the lives of so many … affects where we locate the center of our efforts.
~ Edward Zlotkowski
Interested in joining the community? For a complete list of opportunities to get involved, click here.
Interested in pursuing any of these options? Connect with us at email@example.com.
PATTI H. CLAYTON is an independent consultant and SLCE practitioner-scholar (PHC Ventures), a senior scholar with the Center for Service and Learning at IUPUI and the Institute for Community and Economic Engagement at UNCG, and a visiting fellow with NERCHE. She works with practitioner-scholars and campuses to envision and establish SLCE infrastructure and to build capacities among all partners for excellence in SLCE, especially through integrated course design, critical reflection, reciprocal partnerships, and collaborative scholarship. Her current interests include democratic engagement, co-learning among all partners in SLCE, civic learning, place-engaged SLCE, and the power of language to shape how we understand and enact engagement.
SARAH STANLICK is the founding director of Lehigh University’s Center for Community Engagement and a professor of practice in Sociology and Anthropology. She previously taught at Centenary College of New Jersey and was a researcher at Harvard’s Kennedy School, assisting the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power. Her current interests include inquiry-based teaching and learning, global citizenship, transformative learning, and cultivating learner agency.
EDWARD ZLOTKOWSKI is professor emeritus of Literature and Media Studies at Bentley University. He is the founding director of the Bentley Service-Learning Center and has been a senior associate at the American Association for Higher Education, Campus Compact and the New England Resource Center for Higher Education.
JEFFREY HOWARD is director of faculty development at DePaul’s Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning where he conducts faculty workshops and consults on service-learning courses and getting community-engaged scholarship published. He is the founder and editor of the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning.
As a visual representation of our networked community, the map below gives the location, biography, and photo (when available) of our contributors. As we continue to grow this project and welcome more partners into the fold, the map will continue to be updated. Below the map is a list of contributors in alphabetical order.
Introduction: The SLCE Future Directions Project
Patti H. Clayton
Twenty years ago, having taken a critical look at the state of service-learning (SL) and having thought about what was necessary to move forward, Edward Zlotkowski (1995) issued a warning and a challenge to the movement:
Unless we learn soon to respond in a much more differentiated and adequate way to the realities of our institutional and professional contexts, our commitment to social ideals will not generate long-term progress. And without such progress, it is a question if we can—or even should—survive. (p. 15)
Many heeded his call, working thoughtfully and collaboratively across campuses and communities to create programs, partnerships, courses, and projects that foregrounded the academic dimensions of the pedagogy. The institutionalization of SL within the academy accelerated, complete with faculty development initiatives, full-time professional positions, internal and external funding, research agendas, and enhanced expectations related to the presence and quality of SL within higher education curricula.
Now, in 2015, after the emergence of a plethora of models for community-campus engagement and in light of uncertainty nationally and internationally regarding the nature and goals of higher education in the early 21st century, the movement finds itself at another crossroads. The dedicated leadership of students, community members, faculty, and staff around the world over the last several decades has rendered the earlier question posed by Zlotkowski’s title – does SL have a future – largely moot. The richness of what we now understand as service-learning and community engagement (SLCE) and the complexities of how we now position it in local and global social, political, economic, cultural, and ecological contexts give rise to different questions for the coming decades. In general terms: What are our visions now for the future of SLCE, why, and what will it take to get there? With more nuance: How can we best come together around the question of our work’s ultimate purposes and focus effectively on what we are trying to achieve? How can we leverage the movement to advance those ends – intentionally, inclusively, and with integrity? What are the points of tension in how we understand and undertake SLCE that we need to hold creatively as we articulate and enact future directions for our work? What fundamental, transformative changes are required to realize our ends, and for the associated paradigms and practices to emerge, grow, and be sustained?
Such questions prompt us to critically reflect on our practices and their alignment with our goals, on our commitments and the challenges we face in bringing them to fruition, on the possibilities of our partnerships – all with an eye toward deeper understandings of ourselves, our work, and our shared and contested visions for the future and with the intent to build our capacities to work collaboratively as agents of positive change. The nature of the questions themselves as well as the maturation of the movement toward ever-more inclusive generation of knowledge and practice call for the full range of perspectives and experiences to be at the table as we move forward from the current crossroad. The SLCE Future Directions Project offered here is a co-created space for such critical reflection among all who wish to contribute their voices.
The SLCE Future Directions Project goes beyond simply taking stock of where we are 20 years after Zlotkowski’s influential article and determining next steps in SLCE’s journey. Rather, it is intended to catalyze, facilitate, organize, and analyze international conversations in a way that positions everyone involved as a co-educator, co-learner, and co-generator of new questions and new knowledge. It is intended to stimulate and assemble ideas from new and established voices, from champions and critical friends, throughout and beyond the SLCE community as well as to enrich dialogue about the future and inform current and future practice and policy. Our primary objective is to form an inclusive learning community to support, inform, sustain, and excite our colleagues and ourselves in thinking creatively and collaboratively about the future of SLCE.
Earlier in 2015, the core leadership team supporting this project – Patti Clayton, Sarah Stanlick, Edward Zlotkowski, and Jeffrey Howard – began discussing how to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1995 article in a way that would not only examine and celebrate progress made to date but also play a similar role in contributing to the future directions of SLCE. We invited thought partners to join us in conceptualizing and designing the project, and we reached out to colleagues across SLCE stakeholder groups and contexts – with diverse perspectives that span levels of experience, roles, philosophies, and lived experiences – as potential contributors. To launch the project, we solicited short, approachable, conversation-provoking thought pieces from colleagues in both our immediate circles and our extended networks.
We asked each contributor to read Zlotkowski’s 1995 article for context, reflect on the most important future directions for SLCE from her or his own unique perspective, and then issue a bold, specific, and actionable call. Together with the contributors, we agreed that each of the pieces would have its own distinctive voice – some more personal, others more academic. Our commitment was – and is – to appreciative inquiry: We encouraged contributors to adopt a generous lens on our collective work and to be constructively critical, envisioning a positive future that grows out of the energies and opportunities of the present instead of highlighting deficiencies in the literature, research, and/or practice or emphasizing obstacles to change.
Rather than developing a template for the thought pieces, we culled the following questions from early online conversations among the contributors and encouraged their use to help ground the essays:
What is your vision for the future of SLCE?
What is the thing you particularly think we must attend to in order to advance and nurture the flourishing of SLCE (i.e., what is your particular topic in this project), and why is it consequential for the future flourishing of SLCE?
What has helped us get us to the point that your particular priority is thinkable and doable?
What will it take for us to move forward with advancing your particular priority?
What questions do we need to ask, what do we need to keep thinking about, and what are the tension points with which we need to engage (e.g., between short- and long-term, among multiple values) as we move forward?
As the contributors, including the four lead project facilitators, developed essays, we shared drafts online, invited one another’s questions and comments, and convened virtually to continue refining our shared understanding of our collective purpose and our individual calls. Thus, the resulting set of essays is the product of robust collaborative processes.
This MJCSL Special Section consists of 12 essays – a framing statement, 10 thought pieces, and a concluding proposal – that compose the first phase of the SLCE Future Directions Project. Zlotkowski’s framing essay reviews developments within SLCE against the backdrop of changes in the sociocultural landscape over the past two decades and suggests some of the implications of the thought pieces, individually and collectively, as we respond to the challenges of the present. Each thought piece then delves into a topic viewed by the author(s) as a critical arena to which the SLCE movement must attend, drawing on the author(s)’ own experience and expertise while also considering more general implications and connections. Howard and Stanlick’s concluding essay implicitly weaves the various priorities and recommendations from the thought pieces into a larger integrative call for a national strategic plan.
The 10 thought pieces are arranged to flow from a focus on students to a focus on communities and partnerships, then to a focus on faculty and staff, and finally to a focus on the systems and cultures underlying SLCE:
Gabrielle Hickmon – designing SLCE to honor diverse student voices
Tamara Bauer, Lori Kniffin, and Kerry Priest – asset-based design of SLCE in the first year
Kathryn Pisco – global partnerships and critically reflective practices
Eric Hartman – community-driven SLCE and “fair trade learning”
Cheryl Siemers, Barbara Harrison, Patti Clayton, and Tal Stanley – “place-engaged” SLCE
Travis Hicks, Liz Seymour, and Allison Puppo – democratic relationships among students, community members, and faculty
Brian Ó Donnchadha – engaged academics as agents of institutional and societal change
Lina Dostilio and Mandi McReynolds – community engagement professionals as leaders and scholars
Sarah Stanlick – critical dialogue to effect “transformation-centered” SLCE
John Saltmarsh, Emily Janke, and Patti Clayton – transformation of higher education institutions
A Civic Salon
These essays launch a multi-perspective, multi-year, multi-venue project. As this initiative has begun to grow, we have come to see it as akin to the intellectual “salons” of the 18th- and 19th-centuries: gatherings designed for sharing ideas and discussing contemporary issues. Like those salons, we hope to see it, thanks to its intermingling of diverse perspectives, contribute to the development of formative public conversations on campuses and in communities across the country. As we see it, the SLCE Future Directions Project is, at its heart, a civic salon.
The 21 contributors, including the 4 lead project facilitators, range from undergraduates to retirees and from first-time SLCE authors to well-established scholars. We live in three countries and five time zones. We are social entrepreneurs; faculty, staff, and students on campuses; consultants; and community leaders. In the spirit of collective intentionality, we envision the SLCE Future Directions Project as a catalyst for an ever more widely ranging conversation that spans the full spectrum of experiences, roles, geographies, and philosophies.
This project, therefore, launches in three venues, each designed as an invitation to ongoing dialogue within an ever-growing learning community. First, as a lead partner, the MJCSL will again publish select thought pieces in another Special Section in the Fall 2016 issue, a call for which will be issued in November 2015. Second, the project’s website – http://www.slce-fdp.org – is an interactive space for our civic salon to convene and continue growing. This set of essays is excerpted there now, open for comments and questions, and will be posted there in its entirety January 1, 2016. In subsequent months other features will be developed to support ongoing virtual dialogue. Additional thought pieces will also be shared at this site; please contact Sarah or Patti to express interest in developing your own idea regarding the future of SLCE for dissemination on this site as thought pieces (which, if desired, can also be further developed and reviewed for publication in the Fall 2016 MJCSL Special Section). And please share the link widely to expand participation in this project.
Third, we will be convening at a number of conferences and other face-to-face gatherings (e.g., Imagining America, the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement, NC Campus Compact’s Pathways to Achieving Civic Engagement conference, national Campus Compact’s 30th anniversary, the International Service-Learning Summit). The ongoing conversation at these and other venues will take such forms as thematic event foci, informal and formal discussions, poster sessions, working groups, concurrent sessions, plenaries – all co-created with event organizers to suit and contribute to the particular context. The project’s website will maintain a running list with additional information. Please contact Sarah or Patti with additional possibilities for such gatherings, and share within your networks the opportunity to contribute to this project at any or all of the events.
On behalf of everyone who has joined and will join the SLCE Future Directions Project, we invite questions and feedback as well as stories and insights on how this collection of essays does and does not speak to your own experience and your own vision for the future of SLCE – through the website, at the various events, and by emailing either of us. Harkening back to the 1995 article that serves as the launching point for this project, we are reminded of Zlotkowski’s urging that “we must ourselves be willing to take risks, to stretch and learn from experience” (p. 129). It is in that spirit that we ask you to engage with these essays and join us in this project, so that we might all – intentionally and with a sense of hope – co-create our shared future.
Zlotkowski, E. (1995). Does service-learning have a future? Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 2(1), 123-133.
SARAH E. STANLICK is the founding director of Lehigh University’s Center for Community Engagement and a professor of practice in Sociology and Anthropology. She previously taught at Centenary College of New Jersey and was a researcher at Harvard’s Kennedy School, assisting the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power. She has published in such journals as The Social Studies and the Journal of Global Citizenship and Equity Education. Her current interests include inquiry-based teaching and learning, global citizenship, transformative learning, and cultivating learner agency.
PATTI H. CLAYTON is an independent consultant and SLCE practitioner-scholar (PHC Ventures), a senior scholar with IUPUI and UNCG, and a visiting fellow with NERCHE. She works with practitioner-scholars and campuses to envision and establish SLCE infrastructure and to build capacities among all partners for excellence in SLCE, especially through integrated course design, critical reflection, reciprocal partnerships, and collaborative scholarship. Her current interests include democratic engagement, co-learning among all partners in SLCE, civic learning, place-engaged SLCE, and the power of language to shape how we understand and enact engagement.
Twenty Years and Counting: A Framing Essay
Twenty years ago it was an open question how or even if the service-learning and community engagement (SLCE) movement would go forward. Levine (1994) had pointed out that “service” as a concern of the academy tended to come and go every 30 years. The then current service cycle had begun taking shape in the mid-1980s with the founding of the Campus Opportunity Outreach League (COOL) in 1984 and Campus Compact in 1985.
Talk of imminent decline was one of the reasons I published an essay in the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning entitled “Does Service-Learning Have a Future?” (1995). In it I attempted to make the case that, without academic legitimization, service or engagement in higher education might well be doomed to repeat the 30-year cycle Levine had identified. Hence, the SLCE movement needed to prioritize the creation of resources that would help faculty – and their students – demonstrate that community-engaged work strengthened high-quality teaching and research rather than distracted from it. From this proposition followed the American Association for Higher Education’s 21-volume series on “service-learning in the disciplines”; dozens of other books, articles, workshops, and presentations on SLCE; the founding of organizations such as Community-Campus Partnerships for Health and Imagining America; Campus Compact’s Engaged Department Institutes and Indicators of Engagement projects; and the establishment of hundreds of campus-based centers – many of them endowed – to support faculty-led SLCE in local, national, and international communities.
The speed with which the SLCE movement grew in the late 1990s into the first few years of the 21st-century can be traced to many factors – from the creative ferment generated by Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered (1990) and the leadership of other respected academics to the availability of public and private funding and broadly bipartisan support in Washington. But there were also larger cultural factors that played a role in propelling the movement’s growth. In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed, and the Cold War suddenly came to an end. Throughout the 1990s it appeared as though the United States, and the rest of the world, were entering a new historical era in which civil – and civic – concerns would no longer be overshadowed by military demands. The 1990s was also the first decade of the digital age, and the explosion of computer technologies – with their potential for revolutionary modes of communicating and organizing – seemed as full of promise as the end of the Cold War. Driven by these technologies, economic growth helped generate new financial resources while instantaneous collaboration became as easy as using a keyboard.
It was, in short, a good time to dream of a new era in which the SLCE movement could contribute in a significant way to solving the nation’s social problems. If only the intellectual power of the academy could be harnessed to address community and civic concerns, the limited achievements of traditional volunteerism might be eclipsed in a heartbeat. If only the potential of Boyer’s “Scholarship of Engagement” (1996) could be brought home to America’s faculty, a new kind of engaged academy might emerge – one that could make the promise of democracy and equality more of a reality.
Nor was this an exclusively American dream. Indigenous SLCE programs in Latin America and the Caribbean drew new attention. Post-apartheid South Africa recognized SLCE as a potentially important resource in reforming its higher education system, while Australia and Ireland also began developing national models. The long-established International Partnership for Service-Learning launched a new master’s program in International Development and Service with sites in Italy, Thailand, and Ecuador. Even countries with very formal academic traditions such as Germany developed initiatives to explore SLCE’s educational applicability.
Today the sociocultural optimism that helped propel this wave of civic engagement seems remote. The events of 9.11 and America’s subsequent “war on terror” made it abundantly clear that there would be no “peace dividend,” while socially reactionary forces began to use their wealth and privilege to push back aggressively against any policy or practice that deviated from market fundamentalism. The “great recession” that swept much of the globe between 2007 and 2009 left the vast majority of people with little psychological space to think of anything except making ends meet. Jobs across all sectors and at all levels became scarcer as globalization sent more and more corporations on an open-ended search for ever cheaper labor markets. Even the concept of a “common good” was called into question by conservative commentators.
Not surprisingly, during this period of social and economic retrenchment, higher education itself came to resemble ever more closely the market culture from which it liked to think of itself as distinct. As Andrew Delbanco, Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, writes in a review entitled “Our Universities: The Outrageous Reality” (2015), “The story these numbers [of college costs and access] tell is of a higher education system – public and private – reflecting the stratification of our society more than resisting it” (para. 10). More and more, access can be correlated with family income as state governments abandon their colleges and universities to those “consumers” who can afford them while private institutions raise costs beyond what is affordable for all but the top 20%. As Delbanco observes, “in our current system the relation between vulnerability and support is an inverse one” (para. 11).
And what about the SLCE movement? How has it fared after its impressive leap forward in the years immediately preceding and following the turn of the millennium? On the positive side, many of the resources developed then – program and course models, disciplinary presentations and publications, research findings, definitions of scholarship, and principles of good practice – have continued to be developed and refined. The same can be said for a variety of initiatives intended to advance not just the movement’s academic legitimacy but also institutional transformation. Sophisticated metrics have been created to measure and recognize overall institutional engagement, the Carnegie Foundation’ Elective Community Engagement Classification (2006-present) being perhaps the most influential. At the same time, institutional associations such as the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) have continued their efforts to clarify and promote the community responsibilities of the specific kind of institution each represents.
All of these initiatives have helped the SLCE movement win considerable academic support while enlisting a new generation of practitioners and scholars. And yet, despite recognition on every institutional level and successes in every academic area – if not every academic discipline – the “transformation of contemporary academic culture” I envisioned in 1995 (p. 130) has not taken place. Indeed, at least since the middle of the last decade, there has arisen a concern among many that the movement has, in the words of an influential white paper, “plateaued and requires a more comprehensive effort to ensure lasting commitment and institutional capacity” (Saltmarsh, Hartley, & Clayton 2009, p. 1). As the authors of the Democratic Engagement White Paper ask, “Will higher education live up to its democratic purpose and undertake the kind of deep change in institutional culture needed to create the conditions for sustained civic engagement?” (p. 1).
The alarm articulated here deserves serious attention, and the possibility that the movement may actually be losing momentum argues for the importance of revisiting not just our strategies but our goals. For example, should we continue to emphasize the “transformation of contemporary academic culture” (Zlotkowski, 1995, p. 130) and invest new energies in fundamental institutional change? One of the following essays (Saltmarsh, Janke, & Clayton) argues eloquently for just such a rededication. But other essays in this collection, without directly challenging – let alone, rejecting – comprehensive institutional change, seem to suggest other priorities.
Perhaps we should emphasize, as do most of these essays, what might be called “enhanced social efficacy”: that is, greater stakeholder inclusiveness and demonstrable community impact. Perhaps we need to prioritize, regardless of the degree to which an institution embraces engagement as a core value, more effective utilization of whatever human and material resources it can invest in this work. For example, Stanlick calls for “transformation-centered” SLCE in which disorienting – and hence potentially transformative – experiences are deliberately foregrounded for all stakeholders. Similarly, when Siemers, Harrison, Clayton, and Stanley propose that SLCE be re-conceptualized not as simply occurring in a particular place but as “in and with and of” that place [emphasis in the original] and when Hicks, Seymour, and Puppo propose replacing the traditional faculty-community partner pairing with more genuinely “democratic relationships” among all stakeholders, our focus shifts from academic expertise and community needs to what the latter authors refer to as “collaborations not limited by the usual hierarchies implicit in relationships among faculty, students, and community members.”
We can feel a related shift even when institutional players remain the focus of attention. While Dostilio and McReynolds emphasize the increasingly pivotal role of Community Engagement Professionals (CEPs), they stress that what makes CEPs so valuable is their experience and credibility with the community as well as with their faculty peers. And if Ó Donnchadha sees great promise in Communities of Reflective Practice, in which “civically engaged academics…meet on a regular basis (physically or online) to reflect on their practice,” it is largely because such a process can help shape the role of an institution in the larger community as an agent of social justice. The perspective can be found in Bauer, Kniffin, and Priest’s call for an asset-based orientation to community engagement; as these authors point out, SLCE that does not deliberately emphasize the knowledge and resources of all stakeholders can easily devolve into “an uncritical, dominant narrative” in which there are those who give and those who need.
When the enhanced social efficacy of an SLCE process or partnership becomes the center of our concern, when the conversation shifts from how to change the nature of the academic undertaking to how existing academic resources can best be utilized to achieve a more or less specific social good, a different dynamic comes into play. It is not necessarily less transformative, but transformation becomes an experienced feature of the work rather than a requisite condition. Indeed, one possibility of such transformative work is that we come to understand more concretely the limits of higher education as an agent of social change. As Hartman suggests, we should not simply assume that “the conventional university structure” – however transformed – aligns well with critical “community-driven” concerns. Perhaps there is a fundamental mismatch at the heart of our work that we have not wanted to recognize.
But even if we continue to believe that we are on the right path in prioritizing institutional transformation and that many if not all of the suggestions made in this collection of essays can best be understood as elements of such a transformation, we are still left with a timing problem.
As I have suggested above, the SLCE movement of the mid-1990s rode a broad social and cultural wave in which large-scale transformation seemed not only necessary but possible. The ideological context in which we work today is far less promising, and if we have learned anything over the last 20 years, it is just how difficult it is to bring about the transformation of higher education institutions.
Today there are voices often unrepresented or underrepresented demanding our attention more urgently than ever before. Given the current racial climate in America and elsewhere, Hickmon’s call for an SLCE movement that speaks more directly to the interests and needs of students of color could not be timelier. Worldwide migrations of displaced people create a new imperative for international understanding and add immediacy to Pisco’s critique of conventional international service programs. Recent developments in the world beyond the academy compel us to ask: When does the need to act more forcefully in the greater community overshadow – not eliminate – other needs such as institutional transformation?
In the final essay of this collection, Jeffrey Howard and Sarah Stanlick propose we formally recognize the need for a movement-wide conversation that could eventually lead to “a national SLCE strategic plan.” Such a plan would help guide entrepreneurial energies, not impose a set of top-down prescriptions or constraints. It would actively seek to include the voices of all relevant constituencies and to develop with them a language meaningful to and accessible to all. In this way it might enable the SLCE movement to listen more deeply and to respond more effectively to the priorities and concerns of today’s communities. If the challenge of 1995 was to create the academic resources that would make the SLCE movement more than an educational epiphenomenon, the challenge of 2015 may be to decide how best to collaborate and direct the resources we do have – academic and non-academic, campus-based and community-based – so that more communities flourish despite the mounting challenges of today’s world. At the very least we should ask how our awareness of the inequality, injustice, racism, and other forms of identity-based oppression that devalue the lives of so many of our human beings affects where we locate the center of our efforts. Our resources – however limited – are still vast in comparison with what they were in 1995. I believe we have yet to discover just how much we can achieve with them.
Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Boyer, E. (1996). The scholarship of engagement. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 1(1), 11-21.
Delbanco, A. (2015, July 9). Our universities: The outrageous reality. New York Review of Books. Retrieved from http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/jul/09/our-universities-outrageous-reality/
Levine, A. (1994, July/August). Service on campus. Change, 26, 4-5.
Saltmarsh, J., Hartley, M., & Clayton, P. H. (2009). Democratic engagement white paper. Boston: New England Resource Center for Higher Education. Retrieved from https://futureofengagement.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/democratic-engagement-white-paper-2_13_09.pdf
Zlotkowski, E. (1995). Does service-learning have a future? Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 2, 123-33.
EDWARD ZLOTKOWSKI (firstname.lastname@example.org) is professor emeritus of Literature and Media Studies at Bentley University. He was the founding director of the Bentley Service-Learning Center and has been a senior associate at the American Association for Higher Education, Campus Compact, and the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. He is currently helping develop literacy initiatives and arts programming for underserved children.
Highlights from first set of thought pieces:
Hickmon: Maybe, if we do this right, twenty years from now students of color will know how to manage the identities and worlds they straddle in ways that trend more toward healing than toward “two-ness,” confusion, and disempowerment … [and] there will no longer be a “served” versus “server” dynamic… Read more
Bauer, Kniffin, & Priest: Our experience suggests that, given the particular challenges of first-year courses, it is all too easy to default to an approach that unintentionally sets students on a problematic path in their interactions with communities … We call for attention to asset-based approaches that, from the beginning, help undergraduates see themselves and others on an equal footing and learn to look for, appreciate, and build on their own and others’ strengths… Read more
Pisco: One of the best things about global service-learning (GSL) – its laser focus on student learning – can sometimes take away from such a focus on communities and international relationships. So, in my mind, the question is: How can GSL programs stay committed to student learning while simultaneously becoming more dedicated to the needs and desires of communities and more nurturing of relationships among individuals and communities around the world?… Read more
Hartman: I have come to suspect that service-learning as a process-oriented pedagogy that focuses on students as subjects – prioritizing their learning and growth – may not always align with outcomes-oriented efforts in community development, public health, or human rights, where the central focus is instead on community members as subjects – on changes in communities and among community members… Read more
Siemers, Harrison, Clayton, & Stanley: We would like to see SLCE that is not only “place-based” (focused on location) but “place-engaged” (in and with and of place). Foundational to this orientation is understanding place as partner – with a particular local voice, history, culture, politics, and ecology that, in an asset-based way, co-creates the sense of possible alternative futures toward which this work aims… Read more
Hicks, Seymour, & Puppo: For SLCE to thrive as democratic civic engagement … we recommend that students be encouraged to collaborate as co-leaders with community members, that community members be empowered to identify community priorities and co-lead projects, and that faculty learn to see students and community members as colleagues and to collaborate on projects in non-hierarchical, democratic ways… Read more
Ó Donnchadha: The Ivory Tower has the potential to respond to whatever is needed by the outside world. But how are these directions determined and by whom? How can those members of the academy with civic commitments and priorities who call on higher education to contribute to social justice have their voices heard over the siren song of neoliberal enterprise and technology commercialisation?… Read more
Dostilio & McReynolds: CEPs play critical roles in sustaining and pushing forward SLCE practice. It behooves us to develop within the community of CEPs a shared commitment to embrace our identities as practitioner-scholars, to clarify and leverage our respective disciplinary training, to develop systemic thinking, and to act as connectors across our institutions and beyond… Read more
Stanlick: If the ground rules for our interactions with one another become so limiting that authenticity is stifled, will not the disorientation required for transformation also be stifled? Rather than tapping the transformative capacities of SLCE experiences, are we sheltering our students, our community partners, and ourselves from the “real” dynamics that could help us become more open to critical conversation and more empowered to relate with one another authentically?… Read more
Saltmarsh, Janke, & Clayton: The emerging national agenda over the past two decades has clearly been one of fundamental institutional change. … How, though, does such transformation of academic institutions happen? … We call for further inquiry into the possibilities for moving in the direction of institutional transformation that is deep, pervasive, and integrated… Read more
A Call for a National Strategic Plan
Jeffrey Howard & Sarah Stanlick
Given the passage of time, changes in the world and in higher education … perhaps it is a moment to step back, take stock, and develop a national strategic plan to guide the next phase(s) of our work. … We may benefit by providing a compass for future work – one that not only guides individuals to and through the academic realm but also synergizes across all levels of organizations (individuals, programs, campuses, communities, networks) and all stakeholders (students, faculty, staff, community members) for more lasting civic engagement that has greater impact on social justice.
This essay calls for the development and implementation of a U.S. national SLCE strategic plan, which, given the geographic-border-transcending nature of the academy in general and SLCE in particular, may well have elements that extend beyond the U.S…. We hope our thinking about national-level organizing will come into conversation with similar ambitions of colleagues in other countries.
The kind of plan we have in mind is an intentional organizing effort broadly developed among multiple stakeholders, not a top-down pronouncement. A multi-voice plan could move us beyond the current prevalence of independent, individual efforts by a plethora of faculty, students, community members, academic institutions, and community organizations to a more coherent nationwide collective endeavor.
The SLCE Future Directions Project … offers a … rationale for developing a national strategic plan. Each thought piece identifies an innovative, bold, actionable strategy for the future of SLCE, giving voice to an important possibility for enhancing our work. A strategic planning process can provide the impetus, the structure, and the focus to bring each of them into conversation with other visions and strategies within and beyond this project. This set of essays represents but a small fraction of the ideas needing a platform for their articulation, dissemination, critique, enhancement, and implementation. A national strategic plan could provide such a space and help us move … [toward] collective efforts to engage with the question “What are our visions now for the future of SLCE, why, and what will it take to get there?”
What we imagine resulting from an effort to develop a national strategic plan is … a set of recommendations … that would serve as both a guide to which … individuals and organizations in the SLCE community could turn as they consider their own respective strategic plans and a catalyst for collaborative efforts amongst SLCE stakeholders. Intended to support the flourishing of the work and its purposes across a wide range of contexts, such a large-scale strategic plan would, of necessity, be grounded in a sense of our ultimate vision(s), emerge from a set of broad goals, be accompanied by illustrative strategies, and point to indicators of positive change – all dynamic and co-created by the SLCE community as a whole.
We … invite readers to share your thoughts on a national strategic plan and concrete ideas for moving forward with this proposal at the SLCE Future Directions Project website: http://www.slce-fdp.org. We … envision a multitude of opportunities for … collaboration – from conversations to white papers to a finalized strategic planning process. We urge you to become involved and join us.
JEFFREY HOWARD (email@example.com) is director of faculty development at DePaul’s Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning where he conducts faculty workshops and consults on service-learning courses and getting community-engaged scholarship published. He is the founder and editor of the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning.
SARAH STANLICK (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the founding director of Lehigh University’s Center for Community Engagement and a professor of practice in Sociology and Anthropology. She previously taught at Centenary College of New Jersey and was a researcher at Harvard’s Kennedy School, assisting the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power. Her current interests include inquiry-based teaching and learning, global citizenship, transformative learning, and cultivating learner agency.
NOTE: The full text of each of these thought pieces will appear in the Fall 2015 Special Section of the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning. They will appear in their entirety on this site in January 2016.
PHC Ventures builds capacity for and co-generates best practices around community-engaged teaching, learning, and scholarship in the US and internationally. Patti Clayton and a team of PHCV Associates collaborate with practitioner-scholars, consult with higher education institutions and organizations, facilitate professional and organizational development, and generate resource materials and scholarship, and provide leadership on a range of field-building initiatives.
The Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning is a national, peer-reviewed journal for college and university faculty and administrators, with an editorial board of faculty from many academic disciplines and professional fields at the University of Michigan and other U.S. higher education institutions. Since 1994, the MJCSL has endeavored to publish the highest quality research, theory, and pedagogy articles related to higher education academic service-learning.
Lehigh University Center for Community Engagement assists Lehigh’s faculty, staff, and students who are involved with service-learning classes or community-based research projects, mobilizes university-community partnerships to address societal challenges, promotes knowledge and research for the common good, and helps cultivate engaged citizens.