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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Rapport at the core: Relationships in service-learning program development


This in-depth qualitative case study of a unique service-learning director explored the factors that enabled her to cultivate a thriving multi-faceted program at a major research university. Through repeat interviews, participant observation, and document analysis, it became apparent that the relational components of this director’s work were critical in her program framing and successes. This article explores the director’s social orientation and approaches to rapport building. In so doing, it highlights the importance of relationships and rapport-building strategies on service-learning endeavors. The study ultimately underscores the potential of positive rapport and accordingly, calls for more attention to the relational aspects of program facilitation.

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