Proposal Title

Effectiveness of Service Learning on Retention and Community Involvement at a Southern Regional State University

Track

Research Proposal / Learning Theories and Pedagogy

Proposal Abstract

Service learning (SL) is popular in university curricula. Many believe that SL engages students outside the classroom and increases community involvement. However, few studies are available demonstrating the effect of SL on learning, retention, and community involvement. This study is designed to determine effects of SL on retention and students’ connection to the university and community. Students in multi-disciplinary courses will complete a two-wave survey concerning their participation in SL and responses analyzed to determine effects on learning, retention, and sense of community. Additionally, university administrators may use the data to assess effectiveness of SL on retention.

Proposal Description

Service learning (SL) is becoming increasingly popular in university curricula. However very few studies are available demonstrating the effectiveness SL has on student learning and retention and subsequent community involvement. The objective of the current study is to determine if there is a relationship between SL and student retention, as well as measure the impact that SL has on a student’s feeling of connection to their university and the local community. By encouraging SL, universities seek to engage students outside of the classroom setting and increase their community ties and involvement, thus increasing the university’s retention of students. There is not sufficient empirical evidence that SL increases students’ sense of community to a level that encourages remaining at the university. By administering an online two-wave survey in courses across multiple disciplines at a southern regional state university, the researchers will collect self-reported data from students about their participation in SL and their subsequent understanding of their role within their major, local community, and university. Results of the study will either support or refute the assumption that SL increases student learning, retention, and sense of community. Additionally, university administrators and faculty may use the data to assess the effectiveness of SL on university retention rates. This study is currently in progress with the first round of surveys already completed. Our hypothesis, methods, and data up until that point will be briefly presented and then we will facilitate an open discussion concerning their work with service learning in their various disciplines, infrastructure for SL on their campuses, and efforts towards assessment Based on the responses, presenters will refer back to the input from the audience as they make the presentation to engage the audience and to foster dialogue.

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Mar 30th, 9:00 AM Mar 30th, 9:45 AM

Effectiveness of Service Learning on Retention and Community Involvement at a Southern Regional State University

Service learning (SL) is popular in university curricula. Many believe that SL engages students outside the classroom and increases community involvement. However, few studies are available demonstrating the effect of SL on learning, retention, and community involvement. This study is designed to determine effects of SL on retention and students’ connection to the university and community. Students in multi-disciplinary courses will complete a two-wave survey concerning their participation in SL and responses analyzed to determine effects on learning, retention, and sense of community. Additionally, university administrators may use the data to assess effectiveness of SL on retention.