Service-learning in Business Administration

Service-learning activity usually falls into two categories:

Type 1: Teaching/tutoring/sharing knowledge from the class.
Example: Business students at the University of Santa Clara in Santa Clara, California, took part in a service-learning project called the Eastside Project. Students conducted a personal money management workshop at a homeless shelter for the mentally ill. They conducted a math pre-test to assess the skills of the residents. They then spent time working with the residents on remedial math, basic banking skills, and personal budget development. The residents were given monthly budget forms to track expenses and income. One student reflected that the residents “were not people with mental disabilities, but rather suffered from mental illness.” The residents found in the students “fellow human beings who took an interest in them, who cared about them.” 2

Type 2: Using information from the class to do something with/for a community organization.
Example: Students in the College of Business at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, participate in a service-learning project as part of their senior seminar. In one case, the students partnered with the Gallatin Valley Food Bank to raise money for the agency. The local campaign was called Blue Jean Friday and Bozeman business employees “bought” the right to wear jeans to work by donating $2.00 to the Food Bank. The university students “worked on marketing and promotional measures to increase participation in the Food Bank. They conducted several analyses and worked with its board of directors to develop a strategy and the steps necessary to implement that strategy.” At the end of the semester, the students presented their findings and recommendations and these were forwarded to the community agency. “Most important, students are given an opportunity to engage in service in ways that will ultimately promote internalization of and commitment to social responsibility and effective citizenship.” 1

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1 Lamb, C. et al. “Learning Well by Doing Good: Service-Learning in Management Education.” Working for the Common Good: Concepts and Models for Service-learning in Management. Eds. Paul C Godfrey and Edward T. Grasso. Sterling: Stylus, 2009. 167-178.

2 Pringle, L. “Expanding the Boundaries of Accounting Education Through Service-Learning.” Learning by Doing: Concepts and Models for Service-Learning in Accounting Ed. D.V. Rama. Washington D.C.: AAHE, 1998. 85-99.