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ERIC Number: EJ1032905
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Feb
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
Engaging Past and Present: Service-Learning in the College History Classroom
Straus, Emily E.; Eckenrode, Dawn M.
History Teacher, v47 n2 p253-266 Feb 2014
Service-learning as a pedagogical approach has become a popular trend in undergraduate teaching. according to Robert Bringle and Julie Hatcher, service-learning is a "course-based, credit-bearing educational experience that allows students to (a) participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and (b) reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility." More simply, as the name implies, service-learning combines high-quality learning with high-quality service. Service-learning enterprises ask students to make connections between activities with the community and their academic work in the classroom. Universities employ service-learning as the academic arm of their civic engagement efforts. Although no single definition of civic engagement exists, most people agree that it encompasses a wide variety of activities that enable people to participate in the processes of democracy, in both formal and informal arenas. College campuses connect with their communities in a variety of ways, such as community-based research, internships, volunteerism, and service-learning. While part of this larger effort, service-learning differs from other forms of community involvement in two main ways. First, in service-learning, community members, not the university or its representatives, identify the need for the project. Rather than the university imposing the venture on the surrounding community, the campus avails itself. Second, service-learning is academic and is integrated fully into the coursework. The undertaking acts as another type of fundamental course text from which students learn. Students engage the experience and put it in conversation with the other parts of the course. This article describes the design and implementation of a service-learning project and the role the university library and other campus professionals can play in supporting service-learning initiatives. The article then analyzes the successes and problems with the course design and makes suggestions for improvements. It shows that relationships among librarians, archivists, and historians can play an instrumental role in incorporating service-learning into the study of history. In the process of this examination, the article offers an example of how to engage the past and the present, and even more importantly, how to teach undergraduate students about the connections between the two.
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A