Service Learning as Underdog within Departments

by Ann Abbott

I received a message from a colleague at another university who has run into resistance toward community service learning (CSL) from faculty because they say the word "service" implies that students are doing religious "mission" work.

This is what I replied to my colleague: 
Oh, [Name]. It's so discouraging to always have to be explaining ourselves and proving ourselves. And it's usually to people for whom no amount of explaining would ever be enough anyway.

I've never, ever heard that particular confusion. But I have heard a lot of people say that it makes us look like a "service" department.

You can tell them that there is a journal called Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning and that there are many books and research articles published about "service learning." If they are unfamiliar with the term, they can see that it is a commonly accepted term in research venues as well as in umbrella organizations of higher education (like the AACU, Carnegie, etc.). 
But don’t waste too much of your time on those people, amiga mía. Just keep doing your good work. :)
This is total BS. (Sorry, but I don't know what other term to use.) Just because a faculty member isn't aware of a field of scholarly work doesn't mean that field doesn't exist.

Did the Americas only exist once Columbus "found" them?


This is resistance. This is power. This fear in the face of pedagogies and research areas that threaten the status quo in language departments.


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