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Gender bias  

I note that, with the exception of Dave and Ed (moderators) and Sean (strong support), I am a bit isolated here! Does anyone see the participant list as reflecting a cultural issue? From another perspective: does anyone see any gender bias in the student commitment to service learning? "Women want to grow trees, men want to cut them down." Might there be any issues in terms of projects to propose, or is it better to accustom students to the world they live in - you do what boss tells you to the best of your ability? [I hope this isn't a hand grenade!]

1560:4741

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I noticed that too Bill. Not a hand grenade, but an interesting observation. I'd be interested in hearing from experienced SL faculty if there is any difference in student engagement.

1560:4894

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I don't know if one class counts as experience, but this semester I have mostly females (only 6 men out of 22 total students) and the service learning is part of the course description. I don't know if the trend would be repeated in other semesters though.

1560:4900

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I was the only woman in my department and the only one who did lervice learing in each course I taught. 2 of my 3 colleagues did no service learning.

I think research shows that things like service learning make science real and therefore more important to many women.

That said, where I am now I don't think gender makes a difference.

1560:5076

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I see a strong gender imbalance at Wesleyan in all of the volunteer activities and service learning courses. Male students are rare. I don't under stand it. There's also a dearth of male students in study abroad programs. Males seem to have a much more difficult time in college. I guess that's borne out by the fact that 55% of college students are female. I keep hoping some sociologist or psychologist will undertake a study.

1560:5097

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Thanks for the thoughts! In Environmental Geology, where we/I have done service learning, no one takes the course in order to participate (many take it in order to kill two Core Curriculum birds - Diversity and Science - with one stone). Accordingly there is little gender imbalance in the class. However, when the students can sign up for parts of a project (like a poster session), there does tend to be some clustering based on perceptions of styles within a topic. That clustering seems to parallel nationally-recognized trends regarding number-intensive vs. outreach-intensive activities. Clearly, there is something there!

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