Incorporating Service Learning into Public Affairs Programs: Lessons from the Literature

Mark T. Imperial, James L. Perry, Michael C. Katula
2007 Journal of Public Affairs Education  
This article reviews the growing literature on citizen service since 1990 to identify design principles to guide the incorporation of a service learning pedagogy into public affairs programs. The article begins with an analysis of a bibliographic database of service-related research published between 1990 and 1999. Although little of the research focuses specifically on public affairs programs, it is a rich literature that proposes best practices, examines program outcomes, and identifies
more » ... s thought to influence the successful implementation of service learning. We build on this analysis by reviewing studies of service learning in public affairs published after 1999 to craft seven design principles: explicit connections between the service activity and learning objectives; reflection; appropriate time commitment; student input; faculty commitment; perceptible impacts; and feedback loops. Our hope is that the design principles provide guidance to those wishing to employ a service learning pedagogy and that subsequent research will test, refine, and expand them in ways that improve the likelihood that these experiences will produce desired learning objectives. Service learning is becoming an integral part of higher education curricula in the United States. Accordingly, in higher education it is common to find a wide range of service learning opportunities available to students in professional education pro-JPAE 13(2):231-252
doi:10.1080/15236803.2007.12001478 fatcat:nyuprk2nmvbtlks4xkrp4adboa