Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Fourth International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Preparing students for service-learning and social entrepreneurship experiences
He Len Chung, Kayla Taylor, Caitlin Nehila

Last modified: 10-05-2018


A critical feature of contemporary models of civic engagement is mutually-beneficial collaboration between campus and community partners, in which all members contribute skills and experience to co-create knowledge. At any given time, multiple relationships require attention – for example, triadic relationships between students, faculty, and staff of community organizations. This model is relevant for both service-learning (SL) and social entrepreneurship (SE), as both seek to work with community partners or in the community to address challenges facing the community. To date, research involving students has focused on the impact of these learning opportunities on student development (e.g., academics, civic participation). For students to be true partners in SL and SE projects, however, we need to understand the reciprocity of these interactions, particularly how to prepare students can become collaborators in developing campus-community partnerships (i.e., participatory readiness). To promote participatory readiness among students, we argue for a competency-based framework that integrates research and recommendations from the fields of service-learning, social entrepreneurship, and educational leadership. Throughout the article, we discuss similarities and differences in SL and SE practices and draw attention to the implications of the work for community engagement and pedagogy in higher education.

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