Critical Curriculum

Critical Curriculum

The Impact of Service Learning in Higher Education

Michael Sharp
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The University of Cincinnati' s most distinguished and respected colleges are busy tearing down walls and breaking out of their "silos;" these colleges "get it"--they understand that students who cross borders, students who work and train cooperatively and collaboratively, learn more and are better prepared for employment after they leave the university. The goal of this book is to further break higher education out of its silo. It is believed that a university that nurtures symbiotic partnerships between students, faculty, and the greater community in which the university is rooted, is stronger for it. This book highlights the complex evolution of the University of Cincinnati' s Service Learning program, particularly as the program is connected to the historic Cooperative Education movement in Cincinnati (Coop program founded in 1906). This action-oriented book employs narrative inquiry and document interrogation to solicit lived experiences and stories from a variety of both campus and community stakeholders, which were then analyzed through the theory of structuration. Through detailing key watershed moments that have underscored the program' s evolution, the book reveals important additions to theory, which have implications for other service learning programs, for the field of education leadership, and for literature pertaining to campus-community organizing. Throughout the book, the reader will encounter several types of fresh acts in the narrative, defined as something new being developed that shifts the institutional structure in some way. It is concluded that these fresh acts, continually informed by the underpinnings of Collective Impact, have positive implications for the role that higher education plays toward the community' s greater good. It is hoped that this book will strengthened the existing pool of research focused on the social structuration of campus-community connections in higher education, including how leaders may foster collaborative experiences and broadened subjectivities for all relevant stakeholders.