Reciprocal exchange: understanding the community partner perspective in higher education service-learning
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This study investigates service-learning from the community partners' perspective, especially in terms of reciprocity. As a central construct in the theory of service-learning, reciprocity for community partners is virtually unknown. Little scholarship exists that explains or explores the benefits and opportunity costs of service-learning. One purpose of this study is to help higher education become better informed about how communities contribute to the education of students involved in service-learning and how colleges and universities can take steps to ensure reciprocity. This qualitative study uses constructivist grounded theory to gain insight into the experiences of community partners with servicelearning at the collegiate level. The study sought to answer the following research questions: What are the community partners' experiences with higher education service-learning? Reciprocity is a definitional characteristic of service-learning. Do community organizations experience reciprocity when they partner with institutions of higher education for service-learning? How does higher education service-learning contribute to the community organizations where students do their service-learning? From the community partner perspective, what do their organizations contribute to student servicelearners? All twenty-four participants in the study are community partners for servicelearning associated with Rockhurst University. Individual interviews, Donor Edge organization profiles, and the Rockhurst University self-study for the Carnegie Elective Classification in Community Engagement were utilized for data collection and analysis. Keywords: service-learning, higher education, campus-community partnerships, reciprocity, mutual gain, community-based organizations, and nonprofit organizations.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Review of literature -- Methodology -- Findings -- Discussion -- Appendix A. Recruitment letter -- Appendix B. Recruitment flyer -- Appendix C. Recruitment telephone script -- Appendix D. Registration form -- Appendix E. Consent form -- Appendix F. Community conversation protocol -- Appendix G. Interview protocol -- Appendix H. Transcript review form