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Title: A Proposal for Service Learning at Princeton: Evidence for the Effectiveness of Service Learning on an Ivy League Campus
Authors: Liu, Jennifer
Advisors: Coven, Martha
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: Service learning, a method of instruction that combines academic content with volunteering experiences in the community, is becoming increasingly popular at institutions of higher education. Previous studies have found that in addition to benefitting the community, service-learning courses benefit college students by improving their awareness of local issues, commitment to service, professional skills, and cognitive skills. However, traditional definitions of learning and the belief that these courses are not academically rigorous have prevented some schools, such as Princeton, from implementing a larger service-learning program. Other schools, such as the University of Pennsylvania, have overcome concerns about academic rigor and have established successful service-learning programs. This thesis presents a case study of UPenn’s Academically Based Community Service program in order to demonstrate that service learning can be effective on an Ivy League campus where there are high expectations for academic rigor. Through student surveys and interviews with Princeton and UPenn students and faculty members, the case study finds that participation in service learning increases students’ commitment to service, knowledge of their communities, and understanding of how to address community issues more so than extracurricular service or other academic classes. Interview data suggests that service-learning courses offer students a deeper learning and service experience and in some cases influence students’ career choices. This thesis argues that the benefits of service learning are in close alignment with Princeton’s mission to prepare students for lives of civic engagement and informal motto, “Princeton in the Nation's Service and in the Service of All Nations.” This thesis concludes that Princeton should expand its curriculum to include more service learning courses.
Extent: 124 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2016

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