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ERIC Number: ED549233
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 277
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2673-6262-9
Service Learning as Civic Pedagogy: A Narrative Inquiry Exploring the Community College Student Experience
Robinder, Keith E.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Colorado State University
In "Democracy and Education," Dewey (1916) proposed that a primary role of higher education should be to renew and strengthen students' commitment to active civic life. More recently Campus Compact, a consortium of college and university presidents committed to community service, challenged higher education to "re-examine its public purposes and its commitments to the democratic ideal... to become engaged, through actions and teaching, with its communities" (National Campus Compact, 2007, p. 2). Many authors have called for higher education to renew the democratic mission of higher education (Colby, Ehrlich, Beaumont & Stephens, 2003; Franco, 2005; Hodge, Lewis, Kramer & Hughes, 2001). Community colleges were founded to bring the ideals associated with democratic purposes of higher education to a more inclusive, locally defined community (Cohen & Brawer, 2008). Service learning has been identified as an effective teaching strategy to achieve the goal of civic engagement for community college students (Prentice & Robinson, 2007; Prentice, 2011). The purpose of this narrative inquiry was to explore the stories of how community college students experience academic service learning. Seven students who completed academic service learning assignments at a comprehensive community college shared their personal stories, service learning experiences, and reflections on their experiences. The content and context of the students' narratives were analyzed to explore the connections between participating in service learning and developing a commitment to active citizenship and leadership for the common good. Holistic content analysis of the narrative data created rich and compelling stories. The students' stories demonstrated that service learning is a transformational educational practice that engages students fully in the educational process and validates their lived experiences. Service learning involves students in meaningful, empowering experiences that build their capacity to lead productive and purposeful lives. By providing educational opportunities that empower and transform students, community colleges build cultural capital, increase human potential in local communities and promote the civic habits of an inclusive, democratic society that Dewey envisioned. My findings and analyses reveal that service learning is an effective civic pedagogy, particularly when instructors utilize rigorous reflection assignments that challenge students to consider their roles beyond the classroom as citizens and leaders. The student's stories also illuminate the impact of the open access mission on both students and communities, and exemplify the power that community colleges have to transform the lives of students. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A