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ERIC Number: ED550430
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 145
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2678-2742-5
A Symbiotic Relationship? Exploring the Relationships between College Students and Community Partners Who Engage in a Shared Service-Learning Project
Budhai, Stephanie Smith
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Drexel University
Broadly defined as the combination and/or integration of participation in a community service activity with formal learning and reflection (Clark, 1999; Reising, Allen, & Hall, 2006; Tucker, McCarthy, & Lenk, 1998; Yan & Rodgers, 2006), service-learning activities range from voluntary student organized initiatives to mandatory graduation requirements. Within the field of educational research, there is a general consensus that service-learning experiences contribute to positive outcomes for both college students and the surrounding community (Helm-Stevens & Griego, 2009; Prentice & Robinson, 2007; Reising, Allen, & Hall, 2006). Few studies investigate the shared relationship between college students and community partners participating in service-learning project together. This qualitative study investigated three service-learning projects of college students and community organizations who attend and partner with a large private university in the northeastern United States. Each case study used several sources of evidence including interviews with college students and community partners, as well as observations of their relationship within the context of the service-learning project. Student reflections and field notes were also incorporated and triangulated. Data was transcribed and analyzed using NVivo 9.0 data analysis software. Findings of this study demonstrated how the ways in which shared relationships between college students and community partners who participate together in a service-learning experience are impacted by the established pretenses of the service-learning goals. Additionally, the level of orientation the students receive, the organizational understanding of service-learning, the opportunities for reflection, and overall communication affect the overall relationships. A typology for conceptualizing service-learning relationships is offered to help understand the dynamics of the relationships. Focusing a study on the shared relationships of all service-learning participants at the same time provided valuable findings that will inform future service-learning courses and university-community partnerships. This study not only introduced the voices of community partners into ongoing debates about the import and impact of service-learning on community-based organizations, but also illustrated how service-learning relationships can develop differently, depending on the initial and shared understanding of the service-learning goals. Theoretical, methodological, and practical implications for researchers, university administrators, community organizations, and college students are discussed. [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: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A