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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Diversity, Difference, and Safety: Adapting Service-Learning for Diverse Students

  • Author(s): Wightman, Abigail
  • et al.

Published Web Location Commons 'BY-NC' version 4.0 license

As American universities become more diverse, it is necessary to consider if existing pedagogies remain relevant and meaningful for all students. This paper examines service-learning, a community engagement pedagogy originally developed for white, middle-class students, by exploring the experiences of residential undergraduate students of color attending a small liberal arts college in rural Virginia. Rather than rejecting service-learning, I suggest reimagining some service-learning practices – particularly the definition of service, the values of reciprocity and collaboration, and preparation for service – in order to meet the needs and experiences of an increasingly diverse population of college students.

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