Service-Learning: Reconciling Research and Teaching, Tackling Capacious Issues
Robert W. Franco - Kapiolani Community College
In this paper, I will suggest that a robust program in academically-based service learning is a vital linking strategy to connect scholarship, learning in community colleges, educational success for students under-represented in higher education, and the improvement of the human condition. Service-learning empowers students, graduates, and communities to tackle tough problems and brings relevance and urgency to teaching while advancing research and discovery. I will argue that service-learning has particular relevance within the culture of community colleges and that it provides a first and second year community-based, engaged research foundation for further undergraduate research in numerous scientific disciplines including biology, microbiology, chemistry, ecology, physiology, engineering, and technology.
- From the introduction
Topics of Interest to the SENCER Community
Brief history of evolution of community colleges from their origins as 'junior colleges' in the early 1900s.
- Mission change/relationship to four-year colleges and universities.
- Role in workforce development and scholarship.
- Provides statistics on current community college student population, faculty, degrees awarded.
Discusses institutional civic engagement and recognizes special challenges community college faculty face.
- Details 13 indicators of engagement at community colleges that impact ability of faculty to engage with students and communities.
- Identifies best practices in supporting faculty engagement.
- Provides examples of engagement and faculty development support at diverse, specific community colleges.
Addresses integrating faculty research at community colleges and into courses; also offering undergraduate research opportunities for students.
Academically-based service-learning as a strategy to connect scholarship, learning, and success for students.
- Success in academic transfer, careers, and as citizens.
- Service-learning is explicitly grounded in teaching and learning at engaged community colleges.
Case study example of how Kapiolani Community College adopted the SENCER approach with service-learning and applied it to numerous courses and disciplines, specifically for first-year students.
- Issues used in courses: health promotion and disease prevention, health disparities in minority populations, sleep and brain function, ecological deterioration, genetic modification of foods.
- Courses that integrate service-learning and connect first and second-year curricula: botany, chemistry, ecology, and microbiology.
- Service-learning is used by Kapiolani as a way to address low literacy rates, low math and science proficiency, and low high school graduation rates.
Service-Learning: Reconciling Research and Teaching, Tackling Capacious Issues (Acrobat (PDF) 57kB Oct28 09)