The Frontiers of Service-Learning at Canadian Universities

  • Vladimir Kricsfalusy University of Saskatchewan
  • Aleksandra Zecevic Western University
  • Sunaina Assanand University of British Columbia
  • Ann Bigelow St. Francis University
  • Marla Gaudet St. Francis University
Keywords: service learning, case study, multilevel programs, higher education, Canada.

Abstract

Service learning is a form of experiential learning that cultivates academic development, personal growth, and civic engagement. Students contribute to and learn from community. Service learning empowers students, enabling them to recognize their ability to act as agents of social change. Service learning is gaining momentum as a movement, given its ability to prepare students for the “real world” after graduation. The authors of this article come from health sciences, psychology, and environment and sustainability. Here, we illustrate service learning through four case studies: 1) An innovative team-based service-learning course partnering with older adults, healthcare providers and community agencies (Gerontology in Practice, Western University); 2) A unique curriculum design that includes service learning and interdisciplinary graduate problem-based training and research focused on experimental education (Environmental Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan); 3) An international service learning course that combines intensive coursework and a 3-month placement with a non-profit, community-based organization in Africa (Psychology and Developing Societies, University of British Columbia); and 4) An extraordinary example of an institutional-level commitment to service learning involving 50 courses, 40 faculty, 100 community agencies, and 900 students per year (St. Francis Xavier University). Our goal is to inspire other educators to engage in the pursuit of excellence in higher education through service learning.

Author Biographies

Vladimir Kricsfalusy, University of Saskatchewan
Vladimir Kricsfalusy (corresponding author) is an associate professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability (SENS), University of Saskatchewan. He is the Director of the Master of Sustainable Environmental Management program at the SENS. He is a recipient of the RCE Award on Education for Sustainable Development
Aleksandra Zecevic, Western University

Aleksandra Zecevic is an associate professor in the School of Health Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences, Western University. She is a recipient of the Brightspace Innovation Award Teaching and Learning.

Sunaina Assanand, University of British Columbia

Sunaina Assanand is a faculty member in the Department of Psychology and Associate Dean, Student Success, in the Faculty of Arts, University of British Columbia. Her scholarly interests include Gender Psychology, Cultural Psychology, and the application of Psychology to community and international development. She is a recipient of the Knox Master Teaching Award and Killam Teaching Prize.

Ann Bigelow, St. Francis University

Ann Bigelow is a professor of Psychology at St. Francis Xavier University (StFX) in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. She is a 3M Teaching Fellow. Ann is the founder of the StFX Service Learning Program and, until recently, was the Coordinator of the Program.

Marla Gaudet, St. Francis University

Marla Gaudet is the past manager of the Service Learning Program at St. Francis Xavier University (StFX) in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and is currently Director of Internationalization at StFX.

Published
2017-06-23
How to Cite
Kricsfalusy, V., Zecevic, A., Assanand, S., Bigelow, A., & Gaudet, M. (2017). The Frontiers of Service-Learning at Canadian Universities. Engaged Scholar Journal: Community-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Learning, 2(2), 87-102. https://doi.org/10.15402/esj.v2i2.173
Section
Reports from the Field