Understanding Community-Based Experiential Learning

Services: Analytical studies, Program evaluation

Research Area: Housing & Community Development

This paper reports on a study of nearly 2,000 nonprofit agencies in two Indiana cities, involving multiple college campuses. We use a comparative, multidisciplinary theoretical framework to understand how nonprofit agencies involve various kinds of college student volunteers as interns, course-based service-learners and general volunteers. The community impact of service-learning has been given limited attention in educational or public affairs research. Drawing on the service-learning research and on national studies of volunteer management capacity, we address the way that community agencies use volunteer management tools to support students and how they discern between the various forms of student involvement. This generalizable study follows extensive field and qualitative research. The results can help build an understanding of the community capacity to involve more college students, which has become a policy question with increasing public value.

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Expert Team

Laura Littlepage
Beth Gazley
  • Beth Gazley
Teresa Bennett
  • Teresa Bennett
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