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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


"Serve to Learn, Learn to Serve": Implementing Service-Learning in Higher Education

Jo Ann O'Quin, Sue Turner.

Service-Learning is a teaching method that directs students to apply critical thinking skills and academic knowledge to meet genuine community needs through service. The goal is to integrate service with the academic enterprise so that the service experience reinforces and strengthens the learning and the learning reinforces and strengthens the service. Gaining widespread attention in higher education in the United States since the early 1990s, the concept of service-learning has been implemented in a variety of disciplines at both undergraduate and graduate levels. This presentation will focus on service-learning in terms of promoting civic responsibility, critical thinking, and professional development in higher education. Defining the goals of service-learning and providing an overview of the concepts will distinguish these courses from more traditional volunteer, practicum, and internship activities. A description of programs and courses in which service-learning was implemented in social work, education, journalism, psychology and gerontology classes will provide practical guidelines and examples of ways to explore these concepts in a variety of courses. Pre-post evaluation results provide insight into some of the issues of critical thinking and civic responsibility from student perspectives as well as qualitative reflections on their experiences. The types of assessment and reflection methods used are tailored to course goals and objectives. A variety of guidelines and resources are provided as important components to assess and evaluate the service and academic experience.


Jo Ann O'Quin  (United States)
Associate Professor
Department of Social Work
University of Mississippi

Dr. O'Quin is Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Mississippi. She has a doctorate in clinical psychologist with a speciality in gerontology.

Sue Turner  (United States)

University of Mississippi

  • Service-Learning
  • Higher Education
  • Civic Responsibility

(Virtual Presentation, English)