Reasons Faculty Teach, or Do Not Teach, Service- Learning Courses in a Pandemic

June 27, 2022
two side-by-side pictures of two people smiling at the camera

Drs. Melissa Garvin and Emily Acosta Lewis, Researchers.

Merith Weisman smiling in front of the CCE
Merith Weisman

Congratulations to Drs. Melissa Garvin and Emily Acosta Lewis for their recent publication, “Reasons Faculty Teach, or Do Not Teach, Service-Learning Courses in a Pandemic: The Role of Faculty Investment and Clues for the Future of Service-Learning in the Higher Learning Research Communications peer reviewed journal. 

The researchers surveyed 117 service-learning faculty from throughout the CSU about their experiences and decision making regarding continuing to teach service-learning courses during the pandemic. The results show that the majority (66.7%) of participants continued to teach a service-learning course. Further, those who had more experience teaching service-learning courses were more likely to continue. 

Other lessons were also learned. For example, female participants trended toward being more likely to consider the use of service-learning as a high-impact practice as more important in their decision to continue teaching a service-learning course compared to male participants. Another example that surprised both me and the researchers is that participants did not indicate that working with community partners was a barrier during the pandemic. The participants were generally able to transition to remote work with their community partners or continue their service-learning courses in some other way. 

The researchers conclude that, “While there are significant barriers to teaching SLCs in a remote environment, there are viable solutions.” You can download and review the article in its entirety on the Higher Learning Research Communications website. Special thanks to Missy and Emily for their important contributions to the research base of service-learning.