Understanding community perceptions of service-learning
University-led service-learning projects are commonly perceived as being mutually beneficial for students, faculty, and communities. Most studies primarily focus on benefits to students. Our study explores the value of a university-led service-learning engagement project from a community’s perspective. To assess perceptions of a student planning and design project, pre- and post-questionnaires were completed by community members and city staff. Findings show the community had an immediate positive response during the project. However, we question the long-term effects of service-learning for communities if tangible outcomes from engagement projects are not realized. Implications are intended to be useful for university teaching faculty considering service-learning, university administrators evaluating such efforts, and for community members, civic leaders, and city staff considering partnering with universities for education outreach and engagement projects.
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