Community Leadership

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Jessica King's masters project, University of Cincinnati

Jessica King's masters project, University of Cincinnati

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  • 1. Community Leadership 1 COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP: AN ANALYSIS OF AND APPROACH TO REFRAMING CRITICAL SERVICE-LEARNING A project submitted to the Department of Educational Studies and Leadership of the University of Cincinnati in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the MASTER OF ARTS in Educational Studies 2009 Submitted by: Jessica L. King BA, University of Cincinnati, 2007 Committee Chair: Vanessa Allen-Brown, PhD Committee Member: MJ Woeste, EdD
  • 2. Community Leadership 2 ABSTRACT Through an examination of the history and current manifestations of service-learning, one of the goals of this research is to not only compile an extensive review of the associated literature but to point to areas of concern and critique. That discussion is followed by a course sequence proposal of what could be envisioned as the next phase of experiential learning, placed in the context of critical service- learning. This model embraces a long-term commitment that is free of artificial boundaries by discipline, while being a simultaneously student-centered and community-centered approach to service-learning. The course sequence, Community Leadership, is intended to create lasting, transformational change for everyone involved.
  • 3. Community Leadership 3 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 4 An Ongoing Discourse of Terminology and Intentions 5 A Closer Look at Pedagogy, Philosophy, and Underlying Principles 11 Desired and Demonstrated Outcomes 17 Case Studies 21 Limitations, Obstacles, and Future Directions 28 Community Leadership 36 Identity and Community Awareness 41 Structural Inequalities and Leadership 43 Social Justice and Commitment to Action 45 Conclusion 47 References 49 Appendix A: Honors Seminars Request for Proposals 56 Appendix B: Community Leadership Summary 58
  • 4. Community Leadership 4 INTRODUCTION No person exists in isolation from a larger whole, much as no community exists without its citizens. Institutions of higher education find themselves located within communities and subsequently bear a responsibility to acknowledge and embrace their fundamental connectedness to these locales. Their graduates must progress to the oft-referenced “real world” of these local communities and beyond, where they will be expected to apply the skills they have diligently committed themselves to learning during the four- (or more) year moratorium experienced in pursuit of their degree (Eifler, Kerssen-Griep, & Thacker, 2008; Eyler & Giles, 1999). Are institutions of higher education preparing their graduates for this challenge? Our evolving society requires young professional entering the workforce to not only be able to work diligently and follow direction, but to think critically through complex situations and novel moments, to create visions, and bring insightful outlooks and sound judgments to their work (Colby, Ehrlick, Beaumont, Rosner, & Stephens, 2000; Eyler & Giles, 1999; Simmons & Roberts-Weah, 2000). Beyond the sheer ability to apply academic skills and critical thinking comes the challenge of active citizenship to make good, ethical use of one’s talents, gifts, and knowledge in order to impact society and larger social structures (Schulz, 2007). Can this not also be the true test of academic success and preparedness? This push toward civic engagement is the root of the 2009 Edward M. Kennedy Service America Act and will continue to characterize the political and social nature of our country as we move forward (Corporation for National and Community Service, 2009). It is within this symbiotic and cyclical existence that we find two pressing but united points permeating academia: the need for accountability in higher education and the growth and exploration of the role of active citizens in today’s increasingly interconnected society. It could be argued that these two movements are parallel to the established approach of service-learning as both an experiential learning pedagogy and a means of achieving active citizenship. Regardless of the chronology, service- learning in its many forms will undoubtedly prove to be influenced and expanded in the shadow of these
  • 5. Community Leadership 5 larger initiatives, which raises a third, key question: What is the role of service-learning in higher education and the larger goal of not only graduating academically-enlightened and motivated young adults but, further, in pointing those with such education and privilege in the direction of their communities, to the exploration of community needs and social justice that would allow others to actualize their own interests and needs? Through an examination of the history and current manifestations of service-learning, one of the goals of this research is to not only compile an extensive review of the associated literature but to point to areas of concern and critique. That discussion is followed by a course sequence proposal of what could be envisioned as the next phase of experiential learning, placed in the context of critical service- learning. This model embraces a long-term commitment that is free of artificial boundaries by discipline, while being a simultaneously student-centered and community-centered approach to critical service- learning. The course sequence, Community Leadership, is intended to create lasting, transformational change for everyone involved. AN ONGOING DISCOURSE OF TERMINOLOGY AND INTENTIONS Experiential learning is an umbrella phrase used to describe any range of activities intended to merge classroom theory and real world practice (Cantor, 1997). A key foundation of such experiential learning is that experience and education are inseparable and cumulative (Dalton & Ingram, 2004). Further, progressive educators like John Dewey advocated for education as a means of not only personal growth and development but as a way to integrate young people into an equitable society, devoid of “- isms” and injustices (Densmore, 2000). Profession-oriented approaches to service-learning include such activities as internships, student-teaching opportunities, cooperative education placements, clinical rotations and residencies in the medical field, among other forms. Parallel opportunities may be thought of as the more traditional, straight-to-employment preparation options often referred to as vocational
  • 6. Community Leadership 6 training. Vocational training is frequently stigmatized for its “blue collar” nature and lack of theoretical and academic foundation. Further confounded among these limitations of vocational training is the history of tracking and ability grouping that often funneled so many students into such professions or fields due to their ascribed characteristics and the perhaps short-sighted perspective of their teachers, counselors, and mentors (Noddings, 2006). Regardless of the precise form or the underlying social current driving the various activities, experiential education in its broader form has a deeply entrenched history in the educational system, both within formal and informal educational settings. In addition to these approaches, other forms of experiential learning, some rooted in the seminal works of Dewey and other progressive and constructivist theorists, have gained a stronger following in recent years and are the focus of the research presented here. In particular, a subgroup of experiential learning opportunities are intended to not only merge the academic and the world outside of the classroom, while incorporating a strong focus on service that, in many cases, may be intended to supersede purely professional outcomes. These activities transition into a pedagogy that, like those discussed above, may be classified under any range of terms and embrace an even more elaborate range of foci and desired learning objectives and outcomes. Depending on the focus, the discipline, the institution, and the individual disposition of the leader(s) of the experience, these differences become not only a distinction in terminology but, in some cases, a crucial differentiation pertaining to the true intention of the approach as it relates to both immediate and long-term outcomes (Bednarz, Chalkley, Fletcher, Kay, Heron, Mohan, et al., 2008). To understand the foundation behind these experiences, it is imperative to analyze not only the words used to describe these opportunities in higher education, but to closely examine what associations come along with the terms of choice. What follows certainly falls short of being an exhaustive list, given the dynamic nature of language and the infinite combinations of words and associations that can be entrenched in academia. With that in mind, the author has strived to highlight those key words and phrases leading to an accurate enough depiction of what most frequently
  • 7. Community Leadership 7 occurs in the literature on experiential learning that may or may not fulfill the triad of merging theory, practice, and service. The phrases analyzed here include: volunteerism, community service, community and civic engagement, service learning and service-learning, and critical service-learning. For the sake of parsimony, volunteerism and community service have enough overlap in their intentions as discussed in the literature that their analysis can unfold simultaneously. Of first importance to note, nothing within the definition of such experiences requires or specifically recommends that they be merged with the academic or an underlying theory of action. Various authors have pointed to ways in which a spirit of volunteerism and community service is ingrained in the history of the United States, irrelevant from curricular concerns (Enos & Morton, 2003; Hollander & Hartley, 2003; Oden & Casey, 2007). Volunteerism, for example, is a way in which people can help others at the individual level, independent of governmental or structural intervention. Densmore (2000) suggests that this approach alleviates temporal social tensions or problems with no focus on underlying issues or social ills. As an example, while volunteering at a soup kitchen each Thanksgiving is a charitable gesture that certainly serves a function and fulfills a temporary need, it does not move to a deeper level of service or engagement, one that could, perhaps, address why there is a need for soup kitchens in the first place. Further, volunteerism and community service are often enacted through a “one-directional” and hierarchical approach, where one relatively privileged group has services to offer to another, needy group (Enos & Morton, 2003; Jacoby, 2003). Taking these good intentions a step further brings us to notions of community and civic engagement. While there is almost certainly overlap between the lexicon of community service and community engagement, many have purported that “engagement” moves closer to a picture of citizenship grounded in the collectivity rather than efforts at individual, isolated acts of charity or volunteer activity (Densmore, 2000; O’Grady, 2000). While there may have been a recent surge in such activities, “*t+he grass-roots movement to reengage citizens in community building has been going on
  • 8. Community Leadership 8 for at least two decades… when successful, such efforts serve as a powerful antidote to the cynicism about national politics and the possibilities for citizen influence” (Hollander & Hartley, 2003, p. 304). This movement grew from a sentiment that individual interests were being advanced before community, with an intention to return the focus to the interconnectedness of our interests and actions (Enos & Morton, 2003). Emphasizing the collectivity, civic and community engagement may or may not come to involve more long-term activities as compared to volunteering or community service. Again, the focus here is on citizenship and engagement in the community, with no explicit or necessary connections to the world of academia. This important distinction leads to service-learning. Activities of volunteerism or community service move closer to the realm of service-learning when they are intentionally and purposefully linked with a focus on the academic (McClam, Diambra, Burton, Fuss, & Fudge, 2008; O’Grady, 2000). Some frame service-learning as “*serving+ the needs of a marginalized group while acquiring necessary knowledge, skills, and dispositions to which they would not otherwise have access” (Eifler, Kerssen- Griep, & Thacker, 2008). Even though the authors go on to explain that this can be a highly reciprocal relationship with all parties involved learning and growing, this definition brings forth a particularly hierarchical and student-centered characterization, wherein students possess a knowledge that the community or those they serve needs, arguably perpetuating inequality by entering the dialogue seeing a group of privilege reaching out to a “marginalized” group. Further, service-learning necessitates a more reciprocal relationship than may otherwise be found through the previously articulated constructs, wherein the student is both serving and learning, growing and helping. Stated another way, the “student is not the all-knowing expert who chooses to offer services to a needy community. Rather, the student serves as a potential resource who may possess what the community members want or need” (Bender & Randall, 2005, p. 85). While some researchers (i.e., Rosenberger, 2000) have questioned the very use of the word “service” in characterizing such activities due to its seemingly inherent hierarchical
  • 9. Community Leadership 9 implications, others have defended the use of the term as they advocate for a more encompassing definition of the word when used in the context of service-learning. Namely, “Service-learning thus stands in contrast to the traditional, paternalistic, one-way approach to service, where one person or group has resources that they share with a person or group that they assumes lacks resources. Reciprocity also eschews the traditional concept of volunteerism, which is based on the idea that a more competent person comes to the aid of a less competent” (Jacoby, 2003, p. 4).The incorporation of reciprocity and positive outcomes for all involved is an extremely important aspect of service-learning as pedagogy. Many educators would agree, however, that what nudges simple and perhaps isolated volunteerism into true service and service-learning is the integration of reflection alongside academic study and action, which work together to address community needs (Rosenberger, 2000). In fact, a distinction has been made between service learning and service-learning, with some asserting that the hyphen shows the true interconnectedness of learning and action, joined by and through reflection (Eyler & Giles, 1999; Jacoby, 2003; Oden & Casey, 2007). In order for service-learning to be a truly academic and civically-oriented pedagogy, it requires an intentional focus on both the academic and related needs of students, along with a purposeful focus on the needs of the community, as defined by the community. One of the more succinct and all-encompassing definition of this approach was advanced by Ash and Clayton (2004): “Service-learning, a form of experiential education, is a collaborative teaching and learning strategy designed to promote academic enhancement, personal growth, and civic engagement. Students render meaningful service in community settings that provide experiences related to academic material. Through guided reflection, students examine their experiences critically, thus enhancing the quality of both their learning and their service” (p. 138). To a greater or lesser degree, these are the goals with which practitioners of service-learning approach such learning opportunities in higher education.
  • 10. Community Leadership 10 The prevalence of opportunities to pursue service-learning at the collegiate level has grown exponentially in recent years (Colby, Ehrick, Beaumont, Rosner, & Stephens, 2000). Schulz (2007) articulated the point that all disciplines provide their students with concepts and theories intended for practical use but, in one regard, it is the linkage with service-learning that actually cultivates that utility. With that in mind, a wide array of courses, disciplines, departments, and institutions across the country have incorporated some form of service-learning into their pedagogies. These disciplines include business (Govekar & Rishi, 2007); communication (Borden, 2007; Schulz, 2007); education (Eifler, Kerssen-Griep, & Thacker, 2008; Renner, 2009; Téllez, 2000); electronic media (Dalton & Ingram, 2004); family and consumer sciences (Toews & Cerny, 2005); human service (McClam, Diambra, Burton, Fuss, & Fudge, 2008); interior design (Sterling, 2007); nursing (Lashley, 2007); 2006); physical and occupational therapy (Bender & Randall, 2005); psychology (Simons & Cleary, public policy (Johnson & Chope, 2007); sociology (Luquet, 2009; Kouri, 2007); Spanish (Bloom, 2008); and women’s studies (Bettcher, 2007; Ituarte, 2007; Ward, 2007; Williams & Ferber, 2008), among others. Despite this evidence of a wide- ranging application of service-learning, it must also be acknowledged that the vast majority of such ventures occur in so-called “soft” disciplines, such as the social sciences (Butin, 2006). Much as reflection is needed to merge learning and service in order to constitute service- learning, the nature and quality of the service itself is vital to result in an optimal experience. As one author wrote, “Service should not be undertaken merely to nudge students toward civic engagement, especially when they are earning college credit to do so… Students should work toward an education in humanity and social change, not solely service and philanthropy” (Roberts, 2008, p. 102). This movement toward not just community engagement married to the academic setting, but toward doing all of that while simultaneously leaning toward social change leads to a particular branch of service- learning, often referenced as critical service-learning (Mitchell, 2007). The point here is that it is not enough to simply put in a set number of hours of service to the community to fulfill a course
  • 11. Community Leadership 11 requirement or expectation. Rather, critical service-learning pushes the envelope, requiring and expecting that through their experiences “students see the larger social phenomena contributing to why people are in need in the first place, and will thereby be inspired into social action,” characterized as a transformational learning experience (Téllez, 2000, p. 76). Students will not only see the pressing urgency and need of now but also become cognizant of the underlying structural and root causes of such need and disadvantage, thereby igniting a desire to create lasting and meaningful change rather than temporal relief (Oden & Casey, 2007; Roberts, 2008). This need to see change and intention to foster equality, to improve the human condition, bridges the gulf between service for charity and service for social justice (Boyle-Baise, Bridgwaters, Brinson, Hiestand, Johnson, & Wilson, 2003; Butin, 2006; Goodman, 2000). As Mitchell (2007) wrote, “Belief in, hope for, and imagination of a different kind of society is the entry point for theorizing about social justice” (p. 102). The unity of theory and action inherent in service-learning allows us to begin the journey toward realizing social justice (Schulz, 2007). For the sake of clarity, critical service-learning will be employed throughout the remainder of this work to distinguish those programs that not only merge the academic and the real world but that do so in the context of an engaged, critical pedagogy designed to be both collaborative and transformational in its intention to work toward goals of social change and social justice. Note that, while social justice is explicitly incorporated into this definition, it is a piece of critical service-learning, rather than its sole domain. In other words, “service-learning is a vehicle for social justice,” actualized by way of multicultural education as a method of pedagogy (O’Grady, 2000, p. 2). Both of these elements will be further explored throughout the duration of the current research. A CLOSER LOOK AT PEDAGOGY, PHILOSOPHY, AND UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES Various pedagogical techniques inform service-learning. To be clear, however, many researchers (e.g., Jacoby, 2003) have advanced service-learning as both pedagogy and philosophy, particularly when
  • 12. Community Leadership 12 viewed from the critical perspective of the current research. As a practice, service-learning is inherently inductive and constructivist (Eyler & Giles, 1999; Goodman, 2000; Noddings, 2006; Rogers, 2001). Further, Butin (2006) maintained that service-learning “ is an amalgam of… experiential education, action research, critical theory, progressive education, adult education, social justice education, constructivism, community-based research, multicultural education, and undergraduate research,” in addition to being classified as “a form of community service, as a pedagogical methodology, as a strategy for cultural competence and awareness, as a social justice orientation, and as a philosophical worldview” (p. 490). Much as with the terminology of experiential education, the nature of the underlying principles to implement a service-learning course(s) depends to an extent on the preferences and dispositions of the facilitator, discipline, institution, and community partnership. As one attempt at reconciling such multiplicity, Honnet and Poulsen (as cited in Oden & Casey, 2007, pp. 18-19) published the Wingspread Principles of Good Practice for Combining Service and Learning, including such charges as the need for all activities to be both responsible and challenging, requiring critical reflection, having clear goals for all stakeholders, being collaborative with an element of commitment, incorporating adequate training, maintaining the best interests of all constituents, and engaging diverse populations. As already discussed, in order for service-learning to constitute a true learning experience, the service activity must be integrally tied to the academic content. In line with that need, the seminal work of Freire (2006) provides guidance in pivotal ways. First, elements of dialogic education are valuable, wherein the perspectives, experiences, and knowledge of both teacher and student must be respected and valued throughout the process. Students will be engaged in the community and will have authentic, often troublesome, sometimes overwhelming experiences that must be acknowledged and discussed, just as teachers have insight to share about their own lived experiences and activities in addition to their academic foundation and background (Nagda, Gurin, & Lopez, 2003). Another important contribution of Freire that pertains to the pedagogy of service learning is the concept of praxis, relating to the continual
  • 13. Community Leadership 13 cycle of action and reflection. Engaging in the community (action) is a crucial element of service but, as stated earlier, reflection is what truly binds the service to the learning, making service-learning an academic endeavor with such strong potential (Lashley, 2007). One recurrent model of praxis involves a period of preparation prior to action, followed by action, then reflection on the experiences and learning outcomes (Bednarz, 2008; Horton, Kohl, & Kohl, 1990). Stated differently, praxis necessitates that reflection is both preceded and followed by action (Rosenberger, 2001). In a persistent theme, the pedagogy of reflection also varies widely, with rampant inconsistency and range in descriptors relating to the integration of reflective activities into the pedagogy of service- learning (Rogers, 2001). One of the seminal models of reflection comes from Kolb (1984). This four-step model begins with concrete experience, followed by reflection on and about that experience, proceeded by synthesis of newly acquired information and a movement toward abstract conceptualization, rounded out by active engagement and experimentation again to test the new information, allowing the cycle to begin anew. Other researchers have built upon this formula, emphasizing that it should have no clear beginning or end point in order to be truly effective, and that deep reflection requires students moving beyond their normal comfort zones through an adequate balance of challenge and support in the classroom and in the community (Eyler & Giles, 1999; Rogers, 2001; Schulz, 2007). Following these models of reflection can help students move beyond superficial discussions to a more critical analysis of challenging situations encountered and the underlying causes. It is worth noting that this cyclical approach also works well with various learning styles found in the classroom, as students are engaged in hands-on learning, experiencing the context associated with content, and have room to look for the value behind concepts and academic approaches (Cantor, 1997). Regardless of the precise model, a variety of forms can be used to capture, assess, and make use of reflective activities. First, Bloom (2008) reminds instructors not to assume that students know how to approach reflection, in general, or in the specific ways the professor has in mind, for fear of gathering
  • 14. Community Leadership 14 nothing more than superficial narrations of lived experience. Most common techniques discussed in the literature include journals (e.g., Bettcher, 2007) and reflective papers (e.g., Hyten & Warren, 2003). As another method of assessment, Ward (2007) incorporated ongoing analysis of journal entries using a standard method of evaluation during classroom sessions, looking not only for completion, but content relating to state objectives, and attempts to integrate classroom theory to active experience. A less time intensive approach includes spotlighting a few student journal entries for class discussion and exploration, allowing all students to benefit from the analysis and synthesis without, perhaps, overtaxing the abilities of a single instructor (Eyler & Giles, 1999). Journals further provide an opportunity to students to give voice to their experiences, discontent, dilemmas, and emerging consciousness without exposing their classmates to what may be classified as overtly prejudiced or discriminatory content (in the form of stereotypes, misinformation, and the like), while also creating one can be a one-on-one, dynamic dialogue between instructor and student as instructors give feedback on entries (Rice & Pollack, 2000). Regardless of whether reflection is completed through formal papers, less formal journal entries, or another method entirely, Ash and Clayton (2004) propose a model referred to as Articulated Learning. This model is designed to encourage students to demonstrate learning outcomes via reflection, rather than just report them, in an attempt to also help students uncover a more complex picture of the issues at hand. Their approach involves three dimensions of learning outcomes: academic, personal, and civic. Students analyze outcomes in each of these dimensions using three basic phases: objective description of the experience, analysis of the experience, and articulation of learning outcomes. Guiding questions such as “What did I learn?,” “How, specifically, did I learn it?,” and “Why does this learning matter?” help students scaffold their responses as they begin to engage in this process (Ash & Clayton, 2004, p. 142). Because of both the standardized approach and the demonstration of learning outcomes, the authors also suggest that this technique can be valuable for measures of accountability relating to the true outcomes of service-learning activities.
  • 15. Community Leadership 15 For reflection to be truly critical and in line with the tenets of critical service-learning, students’ experiences must begin to make them challenge the status quo and their previous assumptions about how and why the world functions as it does (Rogers, 2001). This challenge makes clear the point that reflection is a cognitive and affective pursuit, fostered by an usual or perplexing situation wherein students must looking closely at their own beliefs and values in light of new information. Critical reflection is what pushes students toward a transformation of perspective, wherein they must analyze their experiences and come to new conclusions, rather than following back on prior schema to make sense of new situations and deal with dissonance (Eyler & Giles, 1999). In order for students to have experience upon which they can critically reflect, the nature of their service must be purposeful and suited to these ideals. Rosenberger (2000) charged educators to “create service learning experiences that extend beyond empathy and ‘helping others.’ Important as these are, service learning must be an avenue of education that enlarges students’ critical consciousness and contributes to the transformation of society. Such transformation must be toward a fuller humanity for all of us” (p. 42). To be clear, transformation is the antithesis of transactional activities, where service or work may be completed, a pressing need may be addressed, but little (or no) true or lasting change is expected (Enos & Morton, 2003). One of the ultimate goals of critical service-learning, specifically, and critical pedagogy, more generally, is to create dissonance as a means of reframing the way in which people see the world (Freire, 2006; hooks, 1994). Of note, perspective transformation may not occur during the short span of time of one course or even within a course sequence – perspective transformation may take a lifetime. But if the seeds are planted during a course, most would agree that a goal of critical service-learning has been achieved, such that students have been empowered to do something relating to social change (Eyler & Giles, 1999). By problematizing structural inequality and exposing students to alternative possibilities using the approaches of multicultural education and social justice goals, these seeds can be nurtured
  • 16. Community Leadership 16 (Nagda, Gurin, & Lopez, 2003). A nonhierarchical approach to pedagogy and engaging the various stakeholders – instructors, students, community – can work toward this end (Rosenberger, 2000). By approaching community partnerships in a way that is strengths-based, sustainable, incremental, strategic, enterprising, dissemination-oriented, and creative (Ersing, Jetson, Jones, & Keller, 2007), critical service-learning can be a means of transforming both students and communities (Densmore, 2000). These transformational experiences can ultimately eradicate the need for service in the first place by incorporating tenets of social justice education (Boyle-Baise & Langford, 2004). As instructors of critical service-learning strive toward the realization of such lofty aspirations, it’s of note the true relevance of the work at hand: “Content without a transformative pedagogy may be rhetorical, intellectualizing, and divorced from reality. An active and engaging pedagogy without a critical knowledge base may result in temporary ‘feel good’ emotions” (Nagda, Gurin, and Lopez, 2003, p. 168). One method of exploring and seeking to attain the tenets of social justice can come through multicultural education as a theoretical perspective used to inform service-learning pedagogy. Within this framework, a strand of multicultural education known as social reconstructionist multicultural education can be employed. As O’Grady (2000) explained, this approach “teaches directly about oppression, discrimination, social justice, and how to take action against these inequities… When students can learn to analyze, to critically reflect on, and ultimately – if they choose to – to transform oppressive situations through action, they are engaged in a form of political activism inherent in social reconstructionist multicultural education” (pp. 2-6). Incorporating this perspective is challenging, as multicultural education can carry an overtly political association, thereby making it controversial depending on the meaning attached to it by the person doing the interpretation (Densmore, 2000). The political natural of multiculturalism (and social justice) is but one of many in the realm of education, making it a point of caution but not a cause for alarm or discouragement (Butin, 2006). Taken together,
  • 17. Community Leadership 17 the positive impact that can come from a well-orchestrated program incorporating the ideals of social justice and multicultural education should far outweigh the negative possibilities as utilized in the pedagogy of critical service-learning. DESIRED AND DEMONSTRATED OUTCOMES In one of its most encompassing forms, critical service-learning as a “scholarship of engagement is seen to link theory and practice, cognitive and affective learning, and colleges with communities… breach[ing] the bifurcation of lofty academics with the lived reality of everyday life to promote critical inquiry and reflective practice across complex and contested local, national, and international issues” (Butin, 2006, p. 474). On the path to attaining these goals, smaller, incremental outcomes can also be documented and achieved that feed into the larger picture of transformation already discussed. As with any the implications of any other pedagogical practice, Eyler and Giles (1999) presented this caution: “Simply requiring service hours has a tenuous link to student outcomes, but community service that is well integrated with an academic course of study contributes to personal and interpersonal development, learning and application of knowledge, critical thinking ability, and perspective transformation” (p. 182). As such, the way in which the ideals of service-learning are cared out in practice contribute significantly in terms of demonstrated outcomes, be they related most directly to areas of academics, personal development, or civic engagement (Astin, Vogelgesand, Ikeda, & Yee, 2000). Further, the specific goals of each program or opportunity may be different, in that some “may have goals in the areas of leadership, ethical development, spiritual development, critical thinking, analytical or creative writing, citizenship or civic education, social justice, or increased understanding of human difference and commonality” (Jacoby, 2003, p. 5). Consequently, these distinctions have implications for the ways in which outcomes are processed or evaluated. A standard method of evaluation that should permeate all approaches, then, is through academic performance. Grade point
  • 18. Community Leadership 18 average, the most common indicator of academic achievement, has been evaluated to positive effects by some researchers (Astin, Vogelgesang, Ikeda, & Yee, 2000), while many others have found no significant changes in grades as a result of service-learning. These mixed results have led many researchers to not doubt the validity of service-learning but, rather, to appreciate that its outcomes are perhaps more qualitative than quantitative. The possible combinations of variables interacting in such complex, evolving situations points to the need to take a more well-rounded approach to measuring the outcomes of service-learning (Butin, 2006). This holistic view of academic achievement leads to the following discussion of results and outcomes. Nagda, Gurin, and Lopez (2003) conceptualized the idea of engaged learning, a method that involves carrying the material of the classroom beyond the boundaries of class sessions and times, discussing and mulling over theory and learning, to applying the content to real-life, complex, and dynamic settings. This very process of engaged learning can be an example of increased cognitive development and a growth in critical thinking skills, as demonstrated by other researchers (Cantor, 1999; Ward, 2007). Eyler and Giles (1999) found that students in well-developed service-learning courses where the academic and service components were interdependent were better able to apply information learned in the classroom to real-life settings and had more sophisticated approaches to problem solving that incorporated community needs and made room for overcoming gaps in their personal knowledge and experience. They further explained that students believed, irrelevant of quantitative measures of academic achievement, they had learned more in the classroom setting, perhaps by virtue of their ability to apply such information rather than seeing it as a series of isolated facts and theories. Johnson and Chope’s (2007) students studying public policy were able to better analyze sampling techniques and process descriptive data as compared to their non-service-learning counterparts, in addition to being able to more critically analyze the implications of public policy work. Similarly, Govekar and Rishi (2007) found that their business students who had engaged in quality
  • 19. Community Leadership 19 service-learning felt more comfortable deviating from planned activities and had more confidence and a perceived increase in abilities to engage in or lead group discussions, move beyond basic answers from a textbook, and actualize resources and contacts to complete a task if needed. Some learning outcomes have been mixed, as Simons and Cleary (2006) showed. While their students expressed a deeper understanding of theoretical concepts, they also reported a decreased interest in the course and its content; whether this is a consequence of the actual service experience or some other variable entirely is unclear. Thinking about outcomes that play a role not only academically but in educating the student academically and socially for success in an ever-changing, fast-paced society, innumerable personal outcomes have been documented. As Simmons and Roberts-Weah (2000) pointed out, service-learning “provides higher education with a unique opportunity to teach the ‘whole’ student by strategically connecting the curricular and cocurricular aspects of student life in higher education through teaching, research, and citizenship” (p. 205). Students have widely reported increased feelings of self-efficacy and self-confidence, at a personal level and as it relates to their ability to make a difference in the lives of others (Simons & Cleary, 2006; McClaim, Diambra, Burton, Fuss, & Fudge, 2008; Toews & Cerny, 2005). Students have also reported or demonstrated an increased appreciation for diversity, increased tolerance, along with an appreciation for other cultural frameworks and ways of seeing the world (Bednarz et al., 2008; Eyler & Giles, 1999; Simons & Cleary, 2006; Toews & Cerny, 2005). Heightened interpersonal skills and other forms of social capital have also been shown to be common outcomes of service-learning activities (Bednarz et al., 2008; Eyler & Giles, 1999; Keen & Hall, 2009). Other researchers have also documented students’ reports of spiritual growth in conjunction with their increased commitment to social justice initiatives, even when it was not an explicit objective (Bernacki & Bernt, 2007). Thinking in terms of long-term impact, many researchers have found that students made changes in their intended career path and/or said they would be committed to continuing their
  • 20. Community Leadership 20 engagement in the community at the conclusion of their structured course requirements (Astin, Vogelgesang, Ikeda, & Yee, 2000; Bettcher, 2007; Eyler & Giles, 1999; Williams & Ferber, 2008). While these student-centered outcomes are prevalent throughout the literature, less accessible and less documented are the impacts and outcomes for members of the community. While this dearth of information will be discussed further in the next section, there are some key findings to highlight. Elsons, Johns, and Petrie (2007) studied the longitudinal impact of students in service-learning programs helping preschool students in collaboration with the pre-existing Jumpstart program. While all mentors work one-on-one with a preschool student following and during a total of 60 hours of training, those mentors engaging in this experience in conjunction with a service-learning course achieved higher gains with their preschooler than did mentors not enrolled in a similar course. Another example comes from the University of Southern Florida (USF). As Ersing, Jetson, Jones, and Keller (2007) discussed, the purposeful redesign and strategic vision to grow the research power and notoriety of USF led to a partnership known as the East Tampa Initiative, which necessitates true collaboration with the surrounding community and has led to valuable outcomes for all stakeholders. Through this reciprocal partnership, community members give input on all activities, the university utilizes a strengths-based approach in undertaking research and course design in the area, and research findings are widely disseminated and used for positive change in the surrounding community. These two examples begin to show just how service-learning can be “win-win-win” for students, faculty, and the community (Bednarz et al., 2008). For all the successes documented here, the results beg the question of what other results can come from concerted engagement in critical service-learning activities, and how much of a lasting impact these experiences can have. Through critical service-learning’s ultimate goal of fostering transformational learning experiences, the intention is not only to improve and change the ways that students learn, but to do this in cooperation and collaboration with the community, while bringing in the
  • 21. Community Leadership 21 skills and talents of committed members of faculty and student services (Enos & Morton, 2003). Through this praxis, the hope is the planting and cultivation of seeds of positive social change (Dalton & Ingram, 2004). To illustrate examples of these broader outcomes as achieved through intentional approaches to critical service-learning, a variety of case studies follow. University of San Francisco Johnson and Chope (2007), professors at the University of San Francisco, instruct a course on public policy, focusing on homelessness and incorporating a purposeful focus on service-learning. The upper division course is for public policy majors, wherein students are assigned to work in a community agency for a minimum of two hours per week over the course of the semester. With the explicit objective of students understanding the human consequences of policy work, the instructors strive to remove the otherwise neutral focus of most public policy courses. Through their work, students see the patterns and personal implications of public policy. Of note, before students began their internship they articulated their desired outcomes as predominantly informational (i.e., to learn the inner workings of and daily operations of community agencies), but by the end of the semester they found themselves more transformed by the personal connections they had made along the way than by this basic information. It is these personal connections and this profound change of outlook that led Johnson and Chope (2007) to describe the course as transformational for the students. Students studying public policy with these professors could no longer maintain the neutrality that they had largely encountered before their internship, nor could they shake this experience as they moved forward. Unfortunately, the analysis presented does not discuss the impact on the communities and the agencies the students worked with, so the level of collaboration remains in question even though an element of transformation that is invaluable to critical service-learning is exhibited.
  • 22. Community Leadership 22 California State University-Monterey Bay If there is any doubt regarding the move to institutionalize service-learning as pedagogy, the case of California State University-Monterey Bay (CSUMB) adds credence to the movement. Rice and Pollack (2000) highlight the approach of CSUMB, a relatively-new university built on the grounds of a former Army base, Fort Ord. Members of the surrounding community were actively consulted through the conception of this university and the formulation of its mission, requiring that it be both accessible and truly a part of its surroundings. The resulting curriculum requires all graduates to have completed at least two service-learning experiences throughout their tenure at the school. The first, a required general education seminar, creates a common experience for all students to explore elements of power, compassion and blame, including focused study about privilege and oppression. In addition to explicitly focusing attention on entering and exiting communities thoughtfully, students put all of this knowledge into action by completing 30 hours of required service. Aside from this introductory experience, students go on to complete at least one required course specific to their program of study prior to graduation. Throughout both courses, students critically reflect on their own identities and self- awareness while they seek to observe and describe the work they are doing in the community. The structured and intentional approaches built into the design of these courses reflect elements of critical service-learning pedagogy. Students are encouraged to not only understand their own perspectives, experiences, and bias, but to look deeper at structural factors they are witnessing and explore this exposure under the guises of compassion, responsibility, and social justice. CSUMB provides an example of the process of institutionalizing service-learning and being collaborative with the community, though the current research on outcomes does not directly attest to moments of transformational learning. Future research will, perhaps, delve deeper into this aspect as the legacy of CSUMB and its approach grows.
  • 23. Community Leadership 23 Bonner Scholars Another example of service-learning comes from Bonner Scholars, a program highlighted by the research of Keen and Hall (2009). Bonner Scholars are students selected through the college admissions process at approximately 25 institutions each year, located predominantly at private, liberal arts schools of higher learning in Appalachian areas. In total, 10-20 students are selected at each school annually based in part on financial need (loosely connected to Pell Grant eligibility as determined through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid). As a part of a financial package, students are responsible for completing ten hours of training, community service, and reflection on a weekly basis, in addition to opportunities to engage in more extensive service experiences during academic break periods. Students choose their site of service and, in all, have completed over 1,500 hours of service at that site by the time they graduate. Through their commitments, students reflect on what Keen and Hall (2009) term otherness, which they go on to define as the lives, opportunities, culture, and experiences of those perceived to be different from oneself. Longitudinal surveys administered to students at various touch points throughout their commitment show increased attention to social justice issues over time, an internalization of experiences, and appreciation for the continued support of Bonner Scholars staff members. This program appears to be unique as compared to some other examples available for analysis, in that it is tied to financial aid and involves a longitudinal time commitment. Students are selected to participate by college admissions staff members and, while they do ultimately elect to participate and stay engaged as Bonner Scholars, there is a tangible benefit being allocated to students above and beyond the intrinsic reward or motivation for otherwise engaging in service. Nonetheless, the longitudinal nature of the program provides an interesting case for the role of sustained approaches to service-learning among a cohort of students within a college or university.
  • 24. Community Leadership 24 Smart-Girl Williams and Ferber (2008) present findings of a non-hierarchical mentorship program known as Smart-Girl, wherein adolescent girls are partnered with college-age women to explore life skills, empowerment, and developing self confidence through a feminist model. The mentors undergo 24 hours of training before working with the younger girls which, in this particular example, is incorporated into an internship offered through a women’s studies department. Mentors also reflect and debrief as a group following each activity with the younger girls. At the close of the program, the mentees demonstrate growth in measures of problem solving and critical thinking, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, and resilience. But the experience is reciprocal and mutually reinforcing, as the university women improve their own communication and problem-solving skills, and feel more confident in their ability to create social change. The measured outcomes for both mentors and mentees make the program transformative; the younger girls leave with valuable and empowering life skills as do the mentors, many of whom continue to work with the Smart-Girl curriculum after their commitment has ended. This transformation and consciousness raising, the purposeful praxis of action and reflection throughout, and the approach to addressing a genuine community need (bolstering the often fledgling self esteem of young girls), makes the Smart-Girl curriculum a prime example of critical service-learning. Bridge Builders Academic Mentoring Program The Bridge Builders Academic Mentoring Program (BAMP) is a service-learning option for pre- service teachers, housed at a Catholic, university in the northwest (Eifler, Kerssen-Griep, & Thacker, 2008). The program is a one-year partnership between secondary education majors and Bridge Builders, an already established community organization for Black adolescent males. The education majors serve
  • 25. Community Leadership 25 not as tutors but as academic mentors to these young men who are frequently labeled as “at risk” – at risk, perhaps, of dropping out of school, of being incarcerated or otherwise in trouble with the law, and many other obstacles that may prevent them from achieving their full potential. Through BAMP, the mentors and the Gents (as the BAMP participants are known) meet for three hours each Monday, over dinner, focused academic study, and a more flexible “study hall” hour led by the Gents. Through online discussion boards and group reflection sessions, “Mentors were not allowed to become mired in their own limitations and occasional stumbles; they were expected to seek and implement effective strategies to solve the complex educational and curricular problems they encountered, but not alone and not without support” (Eifler, Kerssen-Griep, & Thacker, 2008, p. 65). In this novel and initially overwhelming experience of what may be the first true relationship or exposure that these future teachers have had with African Americans, in general, or elements of the urban lifestyle they have been raised in, the victories and successes seem to dramatically outweigh the challenges that are overcome through this active network of support. The outcomes of BAMP speak for themselves: all of the Gents have graduated from high school and 97% of them have matriculated into college. Further, all of the academic mentors have gone on to professions in teaching, in many cases in high schools attended by the Gents they have mentored, at which point their mentees have served a protective and socializing role for their new teachers, providing them with invaluable social capital as they make their transition into the professional world and seek to gain credibility with their students. These are some of the more quantifiable achievements of BAMP. Other outcomes are, perhaps, not as easy to illustrate by way of statistics or simple words: “As the program matures, each year a handful of Gents decide to make this small, primarily White campus their college destination. They have found a home here and the many welcoming gestures of support, in the form of scholarships, study, and support groups, provide ample evidence of that. However, they and their fellow Gents have also made important contributions
  • 26. Community Leadership 26 to this community and know they are valued for those. For themselves, they have broadened their original view of what life might hold for them and have taken the first important step in achieving their dreams. Along the way, they have catalyzed others; their mentors and their mentors’ teachers and institutions are transformed in fundamental ways. This is shown in the teaching jobs they take, the choices they make within those classrooms, and their attitudes and actions toward marginalized people. These instances of grace point to the power of engaging in social justice to teach social justice.” (Eifler, Kerssen-Griep, and Thacker, 2008, p. 68) This is the transformative nature for which service-learning practitioners strive; not only was the experience mutually reinforcing and truly collaborative, but the outcomes live on beyond the conclusion of the formal partnership and even past the reach of those directly engaged. As with other existing experiences, it is not readily apparent how deeply the practitioners delved into issues of structural inequality, but the broader community impact speaks volumes and lends itself, at least in large part, to the goals of critical service-learning. The Citizen Scholars Program A final case study is that of the Citizen Scholars Program (CSP) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Mitchell, 2007). CSP is a cohort of students within the honors program who have applied and been accepted to the four-semester learning experience. The goal of the program is to develop in students the ability and desire to elicit positive social change through a two year engagement in service. Students choose the agency for themselves and are provided with a solid grounding in social justice theory and study to support their activities. As Mitchell (2007) explained of the approach, “students must first come to believe and understand that the current community is somehow flawed. Then, the student should seek to be aware of root causes that lead to the flaws and problems they now recognize in the community” (p. 102). Students complete well over 200 hours of service over the course
  • 27. Community Leadership 27 of two years, divided into a requirement of 60 hours of service per semester, and are compensated via a $500 scholarship each semester. Highly structured course meetings give way to student-led discussions and research focused on experiences and challenges that arise through the community commitment. Students reflect critically on their activities throughout, focusing on privilege and oppression, as well as their own identity, perspectives, and responsibilities to those around them. They explore the meaning and root causes of inequality, shatter pre-existing stereotypes, and make privilege visible while participating in structured discussion sessions about their community engagement with classmates and instructors. Students are also evaluated throughout their experience by their community partners. As a culmination of knowledge gained, in the third semester, students seek community input and research and design a capstone experience intended to elicit meaningful social change. This capstone is to be grounded in social justice approaches, questioning unequal status and inequitable social structures. Partnered with the short-term benefits realized through such experiences, the Citizen Scholars Program “benefits everyone as a new generation of leaders, with visions of justice guiding their efforts, leave the University with intent to live their social justice commitments and to work for meaningful social change” (Mitchell, 2007, p. 110). In each of these structured experiences, we find incidents of transformational learning and profound outcomes. As invaluable and thrilling as each of these programs are, it must be remembered that seemingly isolated, individual experiences also have transformational outcomes that may or may not make their way to the literature. Such is the story of a devout young woman who volunteered with an AIDS outreach organization as a part of one of her courses: “Although she felt that homosexuality was sinful, she also worked closely with many gay men and women whom she liked and respected and spent a good deal of time grappling with her dilemma of accepting and yet not accepting homosexuality. She spent a good deal of time in her
  • 28. Community Leadership 28 journal and in group reflection puzzling over her contradictory feelings. For her the defining moment came when she spent a day working alongside a man living with HIV who shared with her his experiences in his own church. She was particularly struck by his story of rejection by a fellow parishioner: ‘He told me that AIDS was God’s punishment for my sins but I asked him if perhaps AIDS hadn’t been sent into the world to test his Christian compassion.’ This story provided an insight that allowed her to restructure the way she thought about AIDS and her own faith; suddenly there was no conflict between her own moral values and her friendship and compassion for the people she was working with. Her new perspective on Christian compassion had room for both.” (Eyler & Giles, 1999, p. 143) These moments should remind all practitioners and advocates of service-learning that the impacts of quality experiences truly do make a difference in the lives of others and, perhaps not immediately or in an obvious way, they also are relevant as we work toward broader movements toward social change and developing in students a passion for social justice as fostered through critical service-learning. LIMITATIONS, OBSTACLES, AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS The growth and development of service-learning programs at institutions of higher learning across the country has led to a deductive scramble to document results and outcomes, seeking to thereby solidify the approach as a worthwhile academic endeavor for faculty, students, and communities, alike. Perhaps despite and because of this, the path has been challenging. As Eyler and Giles (1999) point out, “service-learning programs sprang up without the benefit of a research base or systematic attempts at evaluation. Founded and developed by bright and passionate students, enthusiastic faculty, and community-oriented student services staffs, these programs have flourished but have not become well connected to the academic core of most institutions that house them” (p. 13). Four pressing and recurrent challenges yet to be adequately resolved include the full integration of and
  • 29. Community Leadership 29 sensitivity to community needs and interests, keeping student needs and development at the fore of design and implementation, the impact on faculty and instructors of service-learning activities, and the future direction of service-learning as pedagogy throughout all areas of higher education. Just as the principles of critical service-learning espouse a need for students to uncover the structural roots of their proximal experiences, Roberts (2008) reminds us that, “Societal relationships between majority and minority groups are necessarily mirrored in the dynamic between students and community partners” (p. 104), necessitating an open and honest acknowledgement of this occurrence and a way to move beyond such perpetuation of inequality. In a colloquial articulation of this, Horton (1990) explained that “even somebody who does try to identify with poor people by dressing poor can still go back home or use a credit card. There’s always an escape .That’s perceived by poor people as being a lark. Whether they’re doing it for the experience or from guilt, it’s always slightly artificial” (p. 197). One way to strive to avoid such a touristic model of service-learning is to ensure accountability to community members throughout the process (Engstrom, 2003). In high-trust, high-responsibility partnerships, true collaboration can be found that serves the purposes of eliciting social change that is transformational for all stakeholders, not just for students. Without these intentions, the one-sided relationship that benefits students and leaves communities the same as they were – or perhaps worse – will be counterproductive to the objectives of critical service-learning (Langseth, 2000). One of the first challenges to overcome to orchestrate truly reciprocal, collaborative service- learning is to openly acknowledge, address, and seek to rectify what may be a community’s negative perceptions of the university. In the case of urban institutions, negative perceptions may be the result of “gentrification” initiatives being undertaken that oust long-time residents to make way for university growth (Enos & Morton, 2003; Jones, 2003), or even the consequence of even more daunting relationships wherein the university uses the community for the purposes of research, expansion, or development without giving anything in return (Langseth, 2000). Jones (2003) and Mitchell (2007) have
  • 30. Community Leadership 30 pointed out that an imbalance of power can be at the root of such dysfunctional relationships, and that critical service-learning pedagogy “seeks to challenge the imbalance and redistribute power through the ways that service-learning experiences are both planned and implemented” (p. 103). As such, a starting point would be realizing that communities are under no obligation to be subjected to or appreciative of offers of service as they relate to the advancement of campus agendas (Roberts, 2008). A true goal should be one of reaching a trusting, responsible, and respectful relationship wherein the boundaries between campus and community are blurred because objectives of all of the stakeholders are one and the same (Jones, 2003). Such a high-trust relationship not only enables mutual understanding and shared interests, but allows for partnerships to persist and flourish through obstacles, difficulties, or changes in leadership (Enos & Morton, 2003). The need to become increasingly community-centered by no means negates the urgency of remaining student-centered. While the outcomes already documented show significant gains have been made, there are still innumerable pitfalls to avoid and areas in need of improvement as service-learning grows. First, the point cannot be overemphasized that academic content and service experience must be truly and deeply intertwined to add the most value to the curriculum; research has shown that making service an optional component of a course, not fully reflecting upon or discussing the service experience in the classroom, or allowing students to enter haphazardly into an activity may and certainly can add value, overall, but will not be at an optimal level (Eyler & Giles, 1999). If we accept that the service or engagement experience is required, then, we must go on to acknowledge a variety of obstacles that may appear as a result. First, the very notion of requiring students to volunteer, can be a contradiction of terms with counterproductive results, subject to challenge by students. Ward (2007) shared a challenge that occurred in her women’s studies courses, wherein the young women questioned the role of volunteerism as counter to feminine empowerment and emancipation as it exploited their labor; turning this argument on its side (indeed, by reflecting critically) Ward worked with students to reframe their
  • 31. Community Leadership 31 perceptions of community service, embracing it as a means to be proactive in a community and address the needs of others while learning about oneself. While this critical analysis quelled the concerns of Ward’s students, circumventing other such obstacles certainly requires an upfront articulation of expectations and commitments so that students are able to make an informed decision as they enroll in a course or course sequence. Once students endeavor to commit to such activities, the probability of encountering unexpected barriers – whether they are in the community or specific to the student’s life – is strong and must be planned for as much as possible. First, “There may be some tension between doing what is needed in the community and doing intellectually stimulating work; when students are not actively engaged in partnership in developing a project, they may feel less engaged in work identified by the community while acknowledging that it is work that the community needs to get done” (Eyler and Giles, 1999, p. 72). Further, availability of time, level of motivation, and degree of engagement can vary over time. One consequence of framing service-learning as “easy” as a recruitment strategy for students could have undue consequences in the community if students want to drop the course or discontinue their service mid-experience due to unexpected time constraints or concerns (St. Clair and Tschirhart, 2007, p. 50). One professor, in particular, addressed this challenge by requiring her students to sign a contract vowing their commitment and respect to the course, its content, and all community members (Kouri, 2007). Of course, the social and personal aspects involved in higher education necessitate some flexibility in policies and scheduling, no matter how good intentions are in defining restrictions and constructing contracts. As articuled by Téllez (2007), a professor at a large, urban research university, states, “I have been told by several students that in order to complete the service learning project, they would have to quit their jobs, sometimes putting the family’s finances seriously at risk. The students who face such difficulties nearly always see the value in service learning and are willing to work hard for
  • 32. Community Leadership 32 their classes, but many did not plan for extra hours outside of class” (p. 79). Bettcher (2007) addressed similar concerns about opportunity costs to students. Continuing to respect the needs and interests of members of the community while simultaneously fostering student growth and development must be an ongoing task throughout the service-learning experience. Students must be aware of the situations they are entering, including being provided with enough background information to not only enter and exit a community with as much grace and lack of disruption as possible (Break Away, 2009). They must also have a thorough working of oppression and structural inequality before and during their experience, as a lack of this knowledge can inadvertently reinforce oppressive outcomes (O’Grady, 2000). Recognizing these underpinnings is important and should be fostered alongside an emphasis on a sense of respect and humility as students enter a community that is probably not their own. This includes not jumping to conclusions about observed behavior, maintaining respect and courtesy even in moments of disagreement, and striving to learn from members of the community through an asset-based approach at all times (Noddings, 2006; Téllez, 2000). For all of these precautions and urgings already acknowledged, there will also be novel circumstances and individual needs and requests that arise as students engage in critical service- learning. The dialogical nature of this pedagogy requires that faculty and instructors not only be open and willing to explore this possibility, but that they also instill this openness in their students so that they feel comfortable enough to voice dissent, question what is happening, and authentically share their thoughts and perceptions – be they positive, negative, or indifferent. Eyler and Giles (1999) explained that “if our enthusiasm discourages students from sharing their honest observations, then we block critical analysis and prevent growth… When the instructor acknowledges from the beginning that community service is difficult and may bring the student into situations that are uncomfortable and challenging, students may feel freer to express their disappointments or concerns in ways that are productive” (pp. 201-202). In this approach, students can begin to understand and appreciation the
  • 33. Community Leadership 33 intrinsic complexity associated with working in real-life situations and contexts (Cantor, 1997; Ward, 2007. An important undertaking is fostering a strong community in the classroom early on in the encounter, which can help diffuse challenging situations as engagement progresses (hooks, 1994). Engstrom (2003) and Young, Shinnah, Ackerman, Carruthers, and Young (2007) also stress the need to engage not only faculty members but student affairs professionals as practitioners of service learning address the academic, social, personal, and civic needs of students. The full support and engagement of the lead instructor must also remain strong and influential throughout the experience. In particular, faculty members who do not engage in community activities required of their students run the risk of encountering resentment by students, some of whom may see a service requirement as a lack of teaching on the part of the instructor (Betther, 2007; Téllez, 2003). As a consequence of this time commitment and need for active involvement, a consistent concern is that engaging in such activities takes time away from that which tenure-track professors may need to use to conduct research and other scholarly activities leading to tenure, ultimately harming their career advancement Bednarz et al., 2008; Colby et al., 2000). In response to these and other concerns, there is a growing scholarship of engagement intended to shed light on the intense and worthwhile work of service learning (Boyle-Baise & Langford, 2004). Professors are further encouraged to share their work with departmental chairs, deans, and provosts as institutions are increasingly under pressure to link with their surrounding communities through concerted efforts leading to tangible outcomes, all of which may in turn feed into institutional buy-in and credibility for the discipline (Ward, 2007; Young et al., 2007). Similarly, Hollander and Hartley (2003) suggest that the future of service-learning as an institutionalized approach within higher education rests on practitioners’ abilities to link service-learning with the broader, growing agenda of civic engagement and renewal. Embracing this framework can not only help ease the concerns of professors interested in
  • 34. Community Leadership 34 engaging in the activity by demonstrating that the goal is to work with and develop communities, rather than just engage in charitable activities, but it simultaneously gives service-learning relevancy at a higher level in postsecondary education, arguably embracing both the civic renewal agenda and objectives of multicultural education (O’Grady, 2000). These many challenges should point to opportunities for growth within the realm of service- learning. Much of student services and other aspects of higher education are inherently dynamic as we work with changing and evolving student populations, suggesting that pedagogy must also maintain such an evolutionary approach. In this evolutionary trajectory, many observations have been made. First, to make such investments of time and energy worthwhile, to develop solid collaborations and partnerships in the community, more time is needed than the traditional semester-length course that only serves to skim the surface of such issues, while failing to get closer to the transformational goal of service-learning. As Keen and Hall (2009) wrote, “Our data support the idea that dialogue demands more than ‘interaction’; one-semester courses may be too short for students to appreciate dialogue across difference, which also makes it more difficult to meet the needs of the community… students need sustained and reflective dialogue across boundaries of perceived difference to effectively engage with the intellectual, moral, and spiritual challenges such engagement can create” (p. 71). Are the outcomes of such superficial experiences temporary or even counterproductive to the lofty goals that service-learning hopes to achieve? If we acknowledge this limitation and begin to think critically about ways to address it, exploration of longer-term commitments must be given thorough consideration. Even with this shift in timing and structure, Butin (2006) has gone on record to say that in order for service-learning to be institutionalized and continue to grow and flourish on college campuses across the country, it must be re-envisioned. As a starting point, service-learning has to this point been advanced as a politics to transform higher education, but this logic is fundamentally flawed. Even though service-learning has garnered bipartisan support in recent years (Hollander & Hartley, 2003), it advances
  • 35. Community Leadership 35 an essentially liberal and progressive agenda subject to critique by conservative ideologues (Butin, 2006). According to Butin (2006): “Service-learning is in a double-bind. If it attempts to be a truly radical and transformative (liberal) practice, it faces potential censure and sanction. If it attempts to be politically balanced to avoid such an attack, it risks losing any power to make a difference” (pp. 485- 486). In its intentions to move students from orientations of individual charity to addressing social justice by way of structural and social change, Butin (2006) and Eyler and Giles (1999) both advanced a convincing argument that it runs the spectrum of idiomatic understandings of the differences between Republic and Democratic political orientations. Left unresolved, this political limitation will hamper the advancement and institutionalization of service-learning as pedagogy and in practice. How does service-learning and, more specifically, critical service-learning, overcome such an inherent challenge in structure? Butin (2006) suggested that the future of service-learning rests on reframing itself not as a method of transforming the institution of higher education but, instead, on transforming itself into an academic discipline subject to scholarly debate, questioning, and modification. This shift in focus to, for example, a discipline of community studies, allows the community to be the mode of inquiry rather than a passive player in the realization of service-learning and eradicates some (though certainly not all) of the political pressures weighing on service-learning as it currently exists. As others have stated, “Service-learning too often falls short of the transformational ideal and instead stagnates on the board of ‘doing nice things’ to help ‘those people’ on ‘those issues’” (Simmons & Roberts-Weah, 2000, p. 199). Though this reframing would lead to small, incremental steps in the overall picture, Butin (2006) posited that it is this slow and steady progress that will ultimately lead to widespread realization of transformational change in students, on university campuses, and in communities. It is with that orientation in mind that the project move to a vision of one approach to critical service-learning, advanced as Community Leadership.
  • 36. Community Leadership 36 COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP “You have to start where people are, because their growth is going to be from there, not from some abstraction or where you are or someone else is.” (Horton, Kohl, & Kohl, 1990, p. 131) The simple yet profound words of Myles Horton serve as a reminder that no element of academia should be so far removed from the reach of its students, instructors, or community as to be ineffectual. In what follows, the intention is not to formulate a static plan for implementation but to instead build the foundation for a dynamic, living outline of pedagogy and course content designed to continue the dialogue of reframing critical service-learning. This method most closely aligns with the proposal of an action research project with the specific direction and outcomes to be determined as the process evolves (Boyle-Baise et al., 2003). As already discussed, existing literature has pointed to the need for service-learning to not only be re-envisioned to be continued and legitimized in higher education but to do so through a different lens, full of altered approaches and somewhat different foundations. In response to these urgings and an inherently felt need on behalf of the author, the focus of this project shifts to the description of a proposed course sequence that grows out of and in response to the existing practices and the ever-growing recommendations to solidify and further propel service- learning into an entrenched place in higher education. Just as life is persistently changing, communities are continually evolving, and the role of higher education progresses in response to these needs, so is the intention of the Community Leadership course sequence. Bednarz et al. (2008) believe “the purpose of community engagement is dependent on several factors: (1) university context, (2) student group involved, (3) community group involved, and (4) desired learning outcomes” (p. 91). Using these four factors as a way to begin the discussion, the vision proposed here for the future of critical service-
  • 37. Community Leadership 37 learning at the University of Cincinnati involves a course sequence designed not around a particular discipline, but around the underlying principles of critical service-learning and social justice goals. Hailed as a new, urban research university, the University of Cincinnati is located in Cincinnati, Ohio, a city of over 300,000 residents housed within a larger metropolitan area of over two million people. UC has a long-established role in the implementation of experiential education as an option or requirement of many of its degree programs. As the founding institution of cooperative education in 1906, its legacy to the goals and relevance of such approaches is deeply entrenched in the university’s existing structure and current mission statement (University of Cincinnati, 2009). As Colby et al. (2000) noted, major research universities are the least likely to have comprehensive models of service-learning but may instead have targeted opportunities that reach a segment of their populations; this trend holds true for the University of Cincinnati. A key segment of the student population widely exposed to experiential learning opportunities is the community of students in the University Honors Program. Per their website, “The University Honors Program comprises the top 7% of University of Cincinnati students and offers an engaging environment in which students are inspired to learn more, do more, and be more. Students are challenged through honors seminars and experiential learning projects that focus on: community engagement, global studies, leadership, research and creative arts” (University Honors Program, 2009). Students in the University Honors Program are not only academically-talented, but have a track record of intense and significant engagement in activities and service at the high school level, in addition to representing a cross-section of the university’s colleges and programs of study. Through a combination of curricular and co-curricular opportunities, University Honors students are challenged to use their talents not only for their own benefit and continued success, but to think critically about how to outwardly apply their skills and abilities. Honors Seminars are interdisciplinary and innovative courses available each year, chosen based on proposals submitted by interested faculty members from across the university (to see a sample call
  • 38. Community Leadership 38 for proposals, refer to Appendix A). A successful seminar is student-centered and intended to be accessible to students from all disciplines, designed to incorporate diverse perspectives and theoretical backgrounds, and is expected to include at least some element of experiential learning. The model of community leadership proposed here is intended to translate into a proposal for an innovative course sequence by the same name, designed to expose sophomores and juniors within the University Honors Program to a long-term, transformational approach to critical service-learning that transcends disciplinary boundaries. The student population is purposefully limited to sophomores and juniors in University Honors for myriad reasons. Relating to the limitation by year in school, this is designed to recognize that first year students may need time to acclimate to the university itself and their program of study before undertaking such endeavors, while seniors may find it increasingly difficult to integrate such a committed experience into their remaining tenure as undergraduates. The population of students in the University Honors Program is ideal for such an undertaking for a variety of reasons: it presents an existing and accessible cohort of students within a large student body; the fact that Community Leadership, as a sequence, directly aligns to two thematic areas of the program (leadership and community engagement); and the author’s pre-existing relationship with the program and its students. To briefly digress, by intending to work with students who could be thought of as the upper echelon of the University of Cincinnati’s undergraduate population, a selection bias and limitation must be acknowledged. Butin (2006) has already indicated that “there is a distinct possibility that service- learning may ultimately come to be viewed as the ‘Whitest of the White’ enclave of postsecondary education… service-learning may come to signify a luxury available only to the privileged few” (p. 482). While the student body of the University Honors Program certainly is fairly homogeneous in some regards, students nonetheless represent a vast array of life experiences, backgrounds, and educational and personal goals, combined with an inquisitive nature and a disposition toward critical thinking skills that can make such a pursuit a highly worthwhile endeavor. For these reasons and more, the author
  • 39. Community Leadership 39 stands by the decision to attempt to pilot Community Leadership within the University Honors Program, while leaving open the possibility of expansion to other sectors of the University of Cincinnati’s student population at a future time. Having highlighted the university context, including a brief discussion of the community (to be expanded below), and the student population, it is time to move to a discussion of desired learning objectives and outcomes and more detail about what, exactly, Community Leadership as a course sequence would entail. The sequence would be removed from any one disciplinary boundary, embracing perspectives garnered from fields as wide-ranging as African-American studies, anthropology, communication, education, history, political science, public policy, psychology, social work, sociology, urban planning and studies, and women’s studies. In short form, the goal is to recruit a cohort of approximately 15-20 students from the University Honors Program who commit to the sequence for a full academic year, spanning autumn to spring quarters. In the first quarter, students would explore elements of identity and community, while gaining exposure to Cincinnati through guest presentations and class sessions held at various locations. During the second quarter, students would be immersed in their self-selected agency, collaborating with stakeholders there to work toward goals that fulfill a genuine need, while using class sessions to explore structural inequality and leadership theory. The third quarter would be a continuation of involvement in the community agency, and become increasingly student-led as sessions move toward students determining the overall direction of discussions, conducting independent research, and exploring ways in which social justice can be incorporated and embraced as they look commit to action now and in the future. Ultimately, the true litmus test to gauge the success of this course sequence in achieving its goals would be what students do at the conclusion of the formal course structure. Was the course content transformative enough for students to refuse to be idle over their summer break period or beyond? Will they pursue their community partnerships, outside of the formal period of engagement? Further, will they [continue to] critically examine their own life and
  • 40. Community Leadership 40 goals, their impact on society, their elements of privilege, and commit themselves to positive social change? One of the foundational aspects of the courses would be problem-posing (Renner, 2009). As explained by Rosenberger (2000), “Problem-posing is the process of unveiling and problematizing reality for the purpose of searching for more humane and just ways of living. Problem-posing breaks open the mental constructs we bring to a service learning situation and allows us to see what we previously had not seen. We develop new consciousness and imagine new possibilities for action and reflection” (p. 41). Reflection would be integrated throughout the experience to help students deconstruct and analyze their activities. In addition, a nonhierarchical and supportive model of discussion and collaboration in the classroom setting would be embraced. By purposefully putting students into situations that challenge their assumptions and preconceived notions about self and community, the courses would be intended to foster critical thinking skills and, hopefully, a desire to elicit positive social change as a consequence of both their actions and reflections (Rogers, 2001). This intentional goal of striving for transformational learning outcomes is lofty, especially given the fact that such experiences can take a lifetime to grow and develop. Nonetheless, with the focus on transformation, even if the goal is not realized over the duration of the course sequence, at the very least the hope is that the seeds will be planted for student and community transformation, over the long term, and tangible outcomes will be observed in the short-term (Eyler & Giles, 1999). Before turning to a more detailed description of each course (a summary of which can be found in Appendix B), the words of Horton again ring true in thinking about this vision of transformation: “*Y+ou have to have a goal. That goal shouldn’t be one that inhibits the people you’re working with, but it should be beyond the goal you expect them to strive for. If your goal isn’t way out there somewhere and isn’t challenging and daring enough, then it is going to get in your way and it will also stand in the way of other people” (Horton, Kohl, & Kohl, 1990, p. 108).
  • 41. Community Leadership 41 Community Leadership I: Identity and Community Awareness In this introductory course, students would begin to critically explore their own identities and develop community awareness in the context of both the University of Cincinnati and the city of Cincinnati (Langseth, 2000). The traditionally-scheduled course would ideally meet once per week for an extended period of time. Rather than holding class sessions in a conventional setting, one of the means of cultivating awareness of the community would be meeting in different locations each week – on campus at the Center for Community Engagement, Office of Ethnic Programs and Services, or Women’s Center, for example, and off campus at places such as Hughes High School, a branch of the Cincinnati Public Library, or the Corryville Recreation Center – to truly take learning into the community (Renner, 2009). Partnered with these changes in venue, students would have the opportunity to hear from various guest speakers on aspects of Cincinnati’s history; its current challenges and promising aspects for the future; the University’s evolution and role as, in some ways, a microcosm of the larger community (Enos & Morton, 2003); and other elements of the area’s social fabric (Colby, Ehrick, Beaumont, Rosner, & Stephens, 2000). In addition to the sheer informational value of these opportunities, guest presentations would contribute to “breaking down the model of professor as chief information source” (Bettcher, 2007, p. 16). A reflective activity at the beginning of the quarter could ask students to articulate their perceptions of Cincinnati: what they see, what their preconceived notions about the city were when they enrolled at UC, what frustrates them and what they are curious about. Revisiting this activity closer to the end of the quarter, following the experiences exploring and learning about the community, would be a means of allowing students to see how their ideas change (or perhaps stay the same). In addition to building outward-oriented community awareness, it is imperative to build community in the classroom and help students explore their own identities in a safe, supportive
  • 42. Community Leadership 42 environment to stay true to the principles of critical service-learning. As Boyle-Baise and Langford (2004) found in their own experiences, “Negative perceptions stymied students’ ability to learn from and with each other,” suggesting that “community building activities are needed for students, in the field as well as in the seminar, to shake our perceptions of motivational differences and to affirm cultural and social diversity” (p. 63). Another key objective of the first quarter would be forming community within the classroom where everyone feels a responsibility to contribute (hooks, 1994; Noddings, 2006). This would help students feel challenged but supported as they engage in the complex settings and circumstances they are sure to find through their community engagement with local agencies: as they make mistakes, have difficult discussions, and remain open to the possibility of new ideas and receptive to the common experiences of others (Mitchell, 2007). Further, as Bettcher (2007) articulated, “our own sense of self (self-conception) may blind us to some of our actions, to their meanings, to their effects upon others. This is especially important because insofar as our own identities involve a larger picture of the world and how we fit into it, they also include a conception of other people and our relations to them” (p. 14). Helping students achieve this awareness through a purposeful exploration of the intersections of their own identities during the first quarter will give them a foundation upon which to build throughout the course sequence and beyond (Rice & Pollack, 2000). Formal placements and service activities would not actually begin during this quarter, for a variety of reasons. First, much research has pointed to the need for students to self-select their placements based on areas of interest, availability, and passions about making a change. In addition to the pragmatic outcomes of such an approach, it is student-centered, affording to students ownership and control over their own learning, while increasing the likelihood of full investment in their placement and the overall outcomes (Bloom, 2008; Eyler & Giles, 1999; Rosenberger, 2000). Further, other researchers have shown that identifying an agency to collaborate with can be a time-intensive initiative that ultimately does not lead to the most fruitful outcomes over the span of one short quarter or
  • 43. Community Leadership 43 semester (Ward, 2007). To address both of these limitations, the intention here would be for students to spend the first quarter exploring notions of self and community, becoming exposed to various constituencies, agencies, and opportunities in the local area, and then making the decision to commit to a particular group by the end of the quarter, such that their intensive involvement can immediately commence alongside the beginning of winter quarter. Integrating the knowledge gained, the culminating experience of the first quarter would be that students both identify a community agency they intend to serve with and also collaboratively work with representatives from that group to develop an action plan. This action plan would need to include both short- and long-term goals, outcomes that can be realized during the time period of commitment and those that may outlast the structure of the course all together, in an attempt to not only give students both a feeling of accomplishment as they see results but to also leave open an element of possibility and continued need to lend the engagement a broader perspective (Simons & Cleary, 2006). Community Leadership II: Structural Inequalities and Leadership As already noted, students would begin their regular engagement with the community agency from the start of this quarter, beginning to work toward achieving the goals articulated in their action plan. Barring any unforeseen or extenuating circumstances, students would be expected to commit to this agency from a time spanning roughly from early January through early June (the end of spring quarter). During this second course, the expectation is that students would commit 30 hours of service to the agency, over the course of what is traditionally an 11-week quarter, averaging approximately three hours of service per week. Coordinating the timing of this service would again be a collaborative venture, choosing opportunities that work not only with the class schedule and other commitments of the student, but that provide optimal levels of assistance to the community agency, thereby giving the best and most relevant exposure to the student and heightened impact for the agency. This time
  • 44. Community Leadership 44 commitment is admittedly steep, though it seems imperative that students have such an immersion experience so that they may move beyond the touristic phase of community exploration (Borden, 2007) to a point where they gain significant, deepened knowledge about the workings and needs of that community. Further, long-term placements are arguably the most productive and rewarding for both students and members of the community, as they allow time to move beyond basic orientation and training to achieving real results (Enos & Morton, 2003). Students would be held accountable not only to themselves but to members of the community agencies. Their experiences would need to be documented in weekly journals to serve as a point of student-instructor and student-student discussion and dialogue (Oden & Casey, 2007); formative assessments would also need to be completed by the person overseeing their community service at the particular agency (Bettcher, 2007). Concurrently, students would still have responsibilities in the traditional course setting, which would again meet on a weekly basis for an extended period of time. The content in this second quarter would, in some ways, be heavier and perhaps more daunting than that of the first quarter’s explorations of self and building of awareness, which is, again, why that groundwork is imperative (hooks, 1994; Renner, 2009). Students would be exposed to open dialogue about matters of structural inequality, including analyses of oppression and privilege, and approaches from the vantage points of race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, religion, and perhaps others as the content progresses. The intention would not be to rehash elements of “diversity education” in their watered-down forms, but to take a focused, critical look at the interrelationship of these elements as they relate to society, social structures, and macro-level implications (Gordon, 2005). This approach, articulated by Rice and Pollack (2000) is crucial because “If community involvement is not to result in the reinforcement of structural injustice and inequity, students must be introduced to these concepts [and] must develop heightened capacities for self-reflection to examine their own role in perpetuating or transforming these systems of power and privilege in society” (p. 132). Their explanation further addresses why this cannot be a
  • 45. Community Leadership 45 cursory treatment of social structures, but one that sets students on the path to a transformative experience, wherein they must reassess their own values and beliefs to account for this (theoretically) newly acquired information (Goodman, 2000). Returning to the work of Freire (2006), it is not good pedagogy to deconstruct society without also providing room for its reconstruction. Through the reflective activities and explorations already referenced, students would also have a forum to undertake this work. In addition, students would be exposed to leadership theories and their applications – what it means to be a leader, types of leadership; as they may find these approaches both empowering and directly applicable to what they would be encountering in their community setting. Particular theories of note and relevance include collaborative, servant, authentic, multicultural, emergent, and inclusive leadership, ultimately hoping to reach a point where students can broadly classify leaders as those who serve others (Simmons & Roberts-Weah, 2000). As Simmons and Roberts-Weah (2000) put forward, “Leadership… is not a thing to be merely acquired, but something to be shared. Becoming a leader is a process that is often accelerated by the intersection of the two paradigms of service-learning and multicultural education” (p. 206). Integrating leadership theory into this second quarter not only provides an added resource to students to support their service-learning activities, it also incorporates another thematic area of the University Honors Program, and sets the stage for students to progress to an even more focused exploration of positive social change. Community Leadership III: Social Justice and Commitment to Action In the third and final part of the Community Leadership course sequence, students would continue their involvement in the same agency and still be expected to commit a minimum of 30 hours of service throughout the quarter. At the beginning of the quarter, they would revisit their action plan to not only evaluate progress, but to look for areas in need of refinement in light of the ways in which the
  • 46. Community Leadership 46 service commitment has evolved. As with the previous quarter, students would also continue the use of weekly journals, along with active discussion and reflection during class sessions. The direction of this quarter would be left purposefully open and lightly structured, to encourage a very student-centered approach that gives prominence to the real-time evolution of their involvement in the community. The intention would be for students to choose topics and determine the direction of class-based discussions, in addition to allowing them the personal space and freedom to independently research areas of interest and relevance to their placement. By way of activities that would be structured, a key starting point in this quarter would be more explicitly incorporating elements of social justice. Shulz (2007) suggested that coauthoring a definition of social justice specific to the classroom and the environment can be a worthwhile endeavor, due not only to the myriad definitions of the phrase but in order to continue to foster feelings of ownership and authentic learning for all involved. Using this definition as a foundation, Oden and Casey (2007) note that “Understanding social justice and doing social justice work are two separate and distinct activities. However, the linking of these elements brings about the potential for social change within communities that are in need” (p. 4). Through their experiences, their research, their reflections and discussions, students would be pushed to further integrate theory and practice, taking critical looks at how the two do (or do not) align in the contexts of critical service-learning and striving for social justice. The culmination of the sequence would require that students summarize and analyze their experiences in presentation and print forms, including objective description, comparison with goals articulated in the action plan, lessons learned, impact on self and community, and next steps. Within the next steps and as a conclusion to this scrutiny of their lived experience, they would also actively and openly explore ways in which they would commit themselves to action in the short-term and over their lifetimes. Would that commitment continue to involve the agency with which they have been working? If the commitment takes an entirely different form, what would it look like? Why would they choose the approach that they
  • 47. Community Leadership 47 do, why may it be effective, and what would be some anticipated challenges for which they should prepare? As stated in the introduction to the Community Leadership framework, the extent to which students do this will be the true acid test indicating success in pursuit of transformational outcomes for all stakeholders involved. Again, to return to earlier assertions, the ultimate goal is transformation, understanding that reality suggests this may not fully or even partially manifest itself over the span of an academic year of critical service-learning. In helping students prepare and complete their reflective capstone analyses, it would be imperative to bear in mind the urgings of Mitchell (2007), grounded in her own experiences teaching students: “Support students where they are and affirm the commitments they are able and willing to make… While some students felt prepared to engage in revolutionary action that challenged current structures and systems in an effort to transform society, others believed that continued involvement in service and acting with their votes… were the appropriate next steps to acting on their commitments” (p. 110). If students have acquired the skills to think critically about themselves and their communities, to question the status quo and look more closely at issues of societal structure, and to endeavor to do something with this knowledge, the tenets of critical service-learning have been actualized. CONCLUSION In giving students theoretical knowledge and academic foundations, higher education fulfills but one of its overarching goals. Using this knowledge as fertile ground upon which to build real-world applications, to merge theory and practice, and prepare students for a life of active citizenship and engagement in their communities endows institutions of higher education with a much more relevant purpose in today’s interconnected, complex, and evolving society. The analysis of service-learning, in general, and critical service-learning, in particular, presented here began with a closer look at
  • 48. Community Leadership 48 terminology and underlying intentions, proceeded to a discussion of pedagogy and principles, and shared demonstrated outcomes along with spaces ripe for improvement. From these insights came the evolution of Community Leadership, a proposed course sequence grounded in best practices of critical service-learning, with the intention of achieving transformational outcomes for all stakeholders involved. The actualization of the course sequence will be a testament to the commitments of higher education and its true possibilities. In the words of bell hooks (1994), “The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress. This is education as the practice of freedom” (p. 207). Critical service-learning is and can continue to be a means of achieving this freedom.
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  • 52. Community Leadership 52 Horton, M. & Freire, P. (1990). We make the road by walking: Conversations on education and social change. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Horton, M., Kohl, H., & Kohl, J. (1998). The Long Haul: An Autobiography. New York: Teachers College Press. Hyten, K. & Warren, J. (2003). Engaging whiteness: How racial power gets reified in education. Qualitative Studies in Education, 16(1), 65-89. Ituarte, S. (2007). Learning about prejudice, oppression, and hate: Reversing the silence. In G.B. Stahly (Ed.), Gender Identity, Equity, and Violence (pp. 139-155). Sterling, VA: Stylus. Jacoby, B. (2003). Fundamentals of service-learning partnerships. In B. Jacoby (Ed.), Building Partnerships for Service-Learning (pp. 1-19). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Johnson, R.A. & Chope, R.C. (2007). Social justice and public policy. In J.Z. Calderon (Ed.), Race, Poverty, and Social Justice (pp. 111-122). Sterling, VA: Stylus. Jones, S.R. (2003). Principles and profiles of exemplary partnerships with community agencies. In B. Jacoby (Ed.), Building Partnerships for Service-Learning (pp. 151-173). San Francisco: Jossey- Bass. Keen, C. & Hall, K. (2009). Engaging with difference matters: Longitudinal student outcomes of co- curricular service-learning programs. The Journal of High Education, 80(1), 59-79. Kolb, D.A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hill. Kouri, K.M. (2007). Feminism, public sociology, and service learning: Issues of gender in the primary school classroom. In G.B. Stahly (Ed.), Gender Identity, Equity, and Violence (pp. 83-100). Sterling, VA: Stylus. Langseth, M. (2000). Maximizing impact, minimizing harm: Why service-learning must more fully integrate multicultural education. In C.R. O’Grady (Ed.), Integrating Service Learning and
  • 53. Community Leadership 53 Multicultural Education in Colleges and Universities (pp. 247-262). New York: Routledge. Lashley, M. (2007). Nurses on a mission: A professional service-learning experience with the inner- city homeless. Nursing Education Perspectives, 28(1), 24-26. Luquet, W.J. (2009). Teaching New Orleans: A cultural immersion and service learning travel course. College Teaching, 57(2), 83-88. McClam, T., Diambra, J.F., Burton, B., Fuss, A., & Fudge, D.L. (2008). An analysis of a service-learning project: Students’ expectations, concerns, and reflections. Journal of Experiential Learning, 30(3), 236-249. Mitchell, T. (2007). Critical service-learning as social justice education: A case study of the citizen scholars program. Equity & Excellence in Education, 40(2), 101-112. Nagda, B., Gurin, P., & Lopez, G.E. (2003). Transformative pedagogy for democracy and social justice. Race, Ethnicity, and Education, 6(2), 165-192. Noddings, N. (2006). Critical lessons: What our schools should teach. New York: Cambridge University Press. Oden, R.S. & Casey, T.A. (2007). Advancing service learning as a transformative method for social justice work. In J.Z. Calderon (Ed.), Race, Poverty, and Social Justice (pp. 3-22). Sterling, VA: Stylus. O’Grady, C.R. (2000). Integrating service learning and multicultural education: An overview. In C.R. O’Grady (Ed.), Integrating Service Learning and Multicultural Education in Colleges and Universities (pp. 1-19). New York: Routledge. Renner, A. (2009). Teaching community, praxis, and courage: A foundations pedagogy of hope and humanization. Educational Studies, 45, 59-79. Rice, K. & Pollack, S. (2000). Developing a critical pedagogy of service-learning: Preparing culturally aware, and responsive community participants. In C.R. O’Grady (Ed.), Integrating Service Learning and Multicultural Education in Colleges and Universities (pp. 115-134). New York:
  • 54. Community Leadership 54 Routledge. Roberts, K.G. (2008). Service, ethnography, and the “leap of faith”: A spiritan Catholic perspective on service learning. Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice, 12(1), 96-116. Rogers, R.R. (2001). Reflection in higher education: A concept analysis. Innovative Higher Education, 26(1), 37-57. Rosenberger, C. (2000). Beyond empathy: Developing critical consciousness through service learning. In C.R. O’Grady (Ed.), Integrating Service Learning and Multicultural Education in Colleges and Universities (pp. 23-43). New York: Routledge. Schulz, D. (2007). Stimulating social justice theory for service-learning practice. In J.Z. Calderon (Ed.), Race, Poverty, and Social Justice (pp. 23-35). Sterling, VA: Stylus. Sedlak, C.A., Doheny, M.O., Panthofer, N., & Anaya, E. (2003). Critical thinking in students’ service- learning experiences. College Teaching, 51(3), 99-103. Simmons, V.C. & Roberts-Weah, W. (2000). Service-learning and social reconstructionism: A critical opportunity for leadership. In C.R. O’Grady (Ed.), Integrating Service Learning and Multicultural Education in Colleges and Universities (pp. 189-207). New York: Routledge. Simons, L. & Cleary, B. (2006). The influence of service learning on students’ personal and social development. College Teaching, 54(4), 307-319. St. Clair, L. & Tschirhart, M. (2007). Service-learning programs: What are universities selling to students?. Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, 18(1), 37-55. Sterling, M. (2007). Service-learning and interior design: A case study. Journal of Experiential Education, 29(3), 331-343. Sullivan, W.M. (2000). Institutional identity and social responsibility in higher education. In T. Ehrlich (Ed.), Civic Responsibility and Higher Education (pp. 19-36). Phoenix: Oryx Press. Téllez, K. (2000). Reconciling service learning and the moral obligations of the professor. In C.R. O’Grady
  • 55. Community Leadership 55 (Ed.), Integrating Service Learning and Multicultural Education in Colleges and Universities (pp. 71-91). New York: Routledge. Thomas, N.L. (2000). The college and university as citizen. In T. Ehrlich (Ed.), Civic Responsibility and Higher Education (pp. 64-97). Phoenix: Oryx Press. Toews, M.L. & Cerny, J.M. (2005). The impact of service-learning on student development: Students’ reflections in a family diversity course. Marriage & Family Review, 38(4),79-96. University Honors Program. (2009). Retrieved May 1, 2009, from University Honors Program website at University of Cincinnati. (2009). Retrieved May 1, 2009, from University Honors Program website at Walshok, M.L. (2000). A research university perspective. In T. Ehrlich (Ed.), Civic Responsibility and Higher Education (pp. 295-305). Phoenix: Oryx Press. Ward, V.E. (2007). Women as social warriors: A framework for community service learning combining Amazonian feminist thinking and social justice education theories. In G.B. Stahly (Ed.), Gender Identity, Equity, and Violence (pp. 103-120). Sterling, VA: Stylus. Williams, R.L. & Ferber, A.L. (2008). Facilitating Smart-Girl: Feminist pedagogy in service learning in action. Femininst Teacher, 19(1), 47-67. Young, C.A., Shinnar, R.S., Ackerman, R.L., Carruthers, C.P., & Young, D.A. (2007). Implementing and sustaining service-learning at the institutional level. Journal of Experiential Education, 29(3), 344-365.
  • 56. Community Leadership 56 APPENDIX A UNIVERSITY HONORS PROGRAM HONORS SEMINAR REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS The University Honors Program enriches the educational experience of academically talented and highly motivated students from across UC’s undergraduate colleges. The University Honors Program was completely revised for students entering in and after fall 2007 and engages students in honors seminars and experiential learning projects focused on the four thematic areas of the program: • Community engagement • Global studies • Leadership • Research and creative arts. Honors Seminar Content and Structure Content Honors seminars are expected to align with one or more of the thematic areas - community engagement, global studies, leadership, and research and creative arts. Courses are not expected to align with all four thematic areas. Rather, a course with an in-depth focus in one area is better received than a course that tries to fit in multiple areas on a surface level. Honors seminars are also expected to engage students in experiential learning. They should challenge students with creative projects and experiences that take learning beyond the typical classroom. Experiential components may include service-learning, domestic or international study tours, visits to local museums, other types of site visits, integration of lab work, or other activities in which students are actively engaged in learning outside of the typical classroom setting. Honors seminars challenge and broaden the intellectual horizons of honors students at all levels, regardless of the disciplines in which students are majoring. These courses should be rigorous and, therefore, are not introductory survey courses. They do not normally require any prerequisites and should provide a positive learning experience for students from across disciplines. Proposals can come from any discipline in any college at the University. Proposals for interdisciplinary courses are encouraged. It is expected that faculty lecture is kept to a minimum and that faculty/student dialogue will serve as a primary mode of interaction. Collaborative work amongst students is encouraged. Students should be challenged by reading assignments focused on important primary sources and writing assignments that demand clear articulation of ideas. The use of innovative technology is encouraged. Evaluation of students should be based on their willingness to explore and critique concepts, rather than on their absorption of facts. Structure Honors seminars are offered as 300-level, three credit hour courses and are listed by the respective faculty members department. Class size is generally limited to 20-25 students. Honors seminars are open only to students enrolled in the University Honors Program.
  • 57. Community Leadership 57 The faculty member and his/her department, in consultation with the University Honors Program, will determine the scheduling of the course. Final acceptance of a course proposal is dependent on reaching agreement about course scheduling. Students in the new University Honors Program (our current freshman and sophomores) are required to maintain e-portfolios that showcase their honors work. These students will be expected to create a page in their e-portfolio for each honors seminar that they take, to showcase their experiences and learning. Each faculty member teaching an honors seminar is expected to administer a University Honors course evaluation via blackboard at the end of the quarter in which the course is offered. Proposal Review Process Proposals are evaluated by a subcommittee of the Honors Council, comprised of faculty members and students from across colleges. Criteria for selection will focus on how well the course meets the guidelines described in this document, especially related to experiential learning and the thematic areas. In addition, we also strive to achieve a balance of courses based on the University’s general education (BoK) requirements. Departmental Compensation The number of courses accepted is based on budget. We anticipate being able to fund approximately 30 courses. For each course accepted, the originating department will receive a payment of $2000. In the case of a team-taught course, $2500 will be split evenly amongst participating departments. Notification Faculty will learn of the status of proposals in early January 2009. Email notifications will be sent to both faculty and department heads. Deadline Proposals are due on Monday, December 1, 2008. Please submit the following via email to 1. Completed proposal form 2. Course syllabus 3. Curriculum vitae 4. A letter of support from your department head
  • 58. Community Leadership 58 APPENDIX B COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP SUMMARY The Community Leadership course sequence provides students with an opportunity to practice critical service-learning through long-term engagement with an agency in the Cincinnati area, incorporating explorations of identity, community, personal agency and structural inequality, leadership theories, social justice initiatives, and a commitment to action. Community Leadership I: Identity and Community Awareness Overview Provides students with a forum to begin to critically explore their own identities and develop community awareness in the context of both the University of Cincinnati and the city of Cincinnati Learning Objectives Think critically about identity, values and history Analyze, define, and foster “community” both within and outside of the classroom Acquire and demonstrate a broad, thorough understanding of the history of Cincinnati and its current position, culturally, socially, regionally, etc. Develop connections with community agencies and constituents and begin to explore community needs through the development of an action plan Focus and refine interests relating to a critical service-learning project in the Cincinnati area Question preconceived “truths” about themselves, the community, and the nature of social relations Sample Activities and Deliverables Class sessions held at various location on campus and in the city Action Plan: Developed collaboratively between the student and members of the community agency; including short- and long-term goals and objectives Reflections Community Leadership II: Structural Inequalities and Leadership Overview Provides students with a forum to not only engage in intensive, structured activities in the community, but to complement this real-world experience with a firm grounding in the nature of structural inequalities and the application of leadership theories Learning Objectives Become immersed in a community agency, gaining “insider” knowledge about needs, responsibilities, and expectations while working toward a tangible, self-defined goal Articulate, define, and defend the differences between individual agency and structural/systemic inequalities
  • 59. Community Leadership 59 Analyze “-isms” and elements of privilege and oppression relating to race, class, gender, nationality, disabilities, religious beliefs, etc. Recognize the interconnectedness of society and people Explore and demonstrate various theories of leadership, including but not limited to: authentic leadership, emergent leadership, transformational leadership, multicultural leadership Apply theory to practice, incorporating these ideas to the service experience, while thinking critically about the possible shortcomings of applying theory to practice Sample Activities and Deliverables A minimum of 30 hours of service to the student’s selected agency of the course of the quarter Weekly journal entries, including objective descriptions of experiences and analyses Evaluations about the activities of students, completed by members of the community engagement, intended to help students learn and grow as the partnership progresses Circle-sharing activities (Horton, Kohl, & Kohl, 1990) wherein students: dialogue about the ways in which oppression benefits some, in addition to the costs for all (Goodman, 2000; Ituarte, 2007); discuss, decompress, and support one another through the ups-and-downs of the service experience Community Leadership III: Social Justice and Commitment to Action Overview Advances the accumulated experiences to incorporate an analysis of social justice, involving student-led discussions and research, culminating in a targeted exploration of how students can commit to action now and in the future Learning Objectives Deepen engagement with community agency Explore and define social justice, its historical manifestations and current implications Reflect on what individuals and groups can do to achieve social justice Analyze what it means to commit to action and develop tangible ways in which students can indeed commit themselves to action Sample Activities and Deliverables A minimum of 30 hours of service to the student’s selected agency of the course of the quarter Revisit, refine, and refocus action plan developed at the end of the first quarter Collaboratively developed definition of social justice Weekly journal entries, including objective descriptions of experiences and analyses, including added focus on theoretical perspectives Comprehensive presentation and written account of the experience – including summary, journal excerpts, lessons learned, outcomes, directions for the future, and ways to commit to action – to be shared with the class and perhaps a larger community (i.e., the university community, the agency the student worked with)