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ERIC Number: EJ1137466
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Winding Pathways to Engagement: Creating a Front Door
Kniffin, Lori E.; Shaffer, Timothy J.; Tolar, Mary H.
Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, v23 n1 p91-95 Fall 2016
Service-learning and community engagement (SLCE) practitioner-scholars--meaning all who do the work of SLCE with a commitment to integrating practice and study--find avenues to this work in a variety of ways. Through custom-made pathways, graduate students are forced to articulate and define their place in the academy, which can enhance voice, confidence, relationships, and identity exploration. Too often, however, students have to settle for a fairly traditional department as their primary academic home and seek out more innovative opportunities for learning and research elsewhere. Graduate students who want to self-define as SLCE practitioner-scholars thus experience identity fracturing, finding themselves needing to wear distinct "hats" as they move between disciplinary work in their departments and SLCE-related work in other arenas of their lives. Worse, students without a high level of persistence, the resources to devote significant time and attention to the search for a program, and/or strong connections in the field may never find these pathways--with the consequence that the SLCE movement may lose their participation and leadership. Further, the movement may disproportionately lose the voices of students who lack the privilege of access to the human, cultural, and economic capital needed to pursue such winding pathways toward SLCE. Therefore the authors believe that unclear, winding paths serve as a significant deterrent to growing the SLCE movement. The movement is more likely to flourish in the future if a "front door" to SLCE is created in the form of graduate education explicitly designed to integrate SLCE practice, study, work, and scholarship.
Descriptors: Service Learning, Learner Engagement, Graduate Students, Experiential Learning, Leadership Training, School Community Programs, Doctoral Programs
Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning, University of Michigan. 1024 Hill Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3310. Tel: 734-647-7402; Fax: 734-647-7464; Web site: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/mjcsl
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kansas
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A