Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
Dr. Louann Bierlein-Palmer
Dr. Patricia Reeves
Dr. William Arnold
Service-learning, service-learning director, reflection, transformational, community, higher education
This research explored issues surrounding service-learning directors (SLDs) within higher education institutions, including who they are, how they became SLDs, and what they experience in the role. Qualitative data were drawn from in-depth interviews of 11 SLDs, as well as review of their vitaes. A qualitative inductive analysis was conducted in which important patterns, themes, and interrelationships that emerged from the data were coded into a category system of major themes and subthemes.
Data analysis revealed the following major themes: (1.0): all the SLDs came from various helping profession backgrounds, with interesting journeys to become a SLD; (2.0) many SLD’s embarking upon their professional carriers had a transformational experience and/or craved a deeper experience beyond the pages of the text book; (3.0) most SLDs have such a strong connection to their undergraduate/graduate institutions and its mission that they have continued to work at, or returned to currently serve at, this same institution; (4.0) Majority of the SLDs agree that service-learning should be housed, as research suggests, within Academic Affairs; (5.0) all of the SLDs use the standard definition of service-learning, stressing the importance of the hyphen “-” to show the reciprocity between all key players; (6.0) values and beliefs vary among the SLDs, however they do centralize around the theme of holistic student growth; (7.0) many SLDs felt institutional support (upper level) was needed, not just in terms to say they approve of service-learning, but for them to be active participants in service-learning; and (8.0) most SLDs correlate their job responsibilities to align with the institution’s core mission, but do admit that there are “blurred lines.”
These themes were organized into a framework profiling SLDs, and 17 key findings were extracted. Comparison to the extant existing research is offered, as are recommendations for higher education leaders and future research.
Woodard, Kelsey, "The Voices of Higher Education Service-Learning Directors: A Qualitative Inductive Analysis" (2013). Dissertations. 226.