Faculty engaged in the Service-Learning (SL) pedagogy aim not only to provide a rich learning environment for their students, but also to create a real impact by enhancing the viability of their local, or a global, community. Extensive research verifies the effectiveness of SL programs in developing the cognitive skills and citizenship behavior of students, as well as contributing to the sustainability of community organizations through targeted services and fundraising activities. Whereas research conceptualizes SL frameworks pertaining to the learn- ing process, as well as the citation of concrete examples of successful SL practices, the criteria by which Faculty select community organizations with which to partner has not been fully articulated. The author builds upon existing SL models by proposing selection criteria that faculty may reference when assessing community organizations; such criteria could potential streamline a challenging aspect of the SL methodology, as well as increase the fit between key stakeholders such as faculty members, students, post-secondary institutions, and the community partner. It is further suggested that faculty may significantly enhance the impact of SL projects by developing relationships with community partners who will both optimally utilize the student’s efforts, as well as seeking linkages to matched funding or services, thereby creating a multiplier effect.
|Keywords:||Service Learning, Sustainable Communities, Leveraging Impact|
Associate Professor, Bissett School of Business, Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta, Canada