Women’s Emancipation and Development Agency (WOMEDA) Executive Director Juma Massisi (seated, center) facilitates conversation among women and Amizade students in Kayanga, Tanzania, as part of research that supported a successful United States Agency for International Development grant award for WOMEDA.


DukeEngage students Jeline Rabideau and Jenny Denton worked with middle school girls, such as ​Katie, in Western North Carolina to enhance literacy skills through digital storytelling projects focused on their families.


DukeEngage independent project student Alex Saffrit collaborated with a community member, Moses, in Nkokonjeru, Uganda, on a solar cooker project.


Ernesto Alaniz, community maintenance leader, Villanova civil engineering student Allie Braun, and Water for Waslala program manager Iain Hunt cooperate to inspect a new water tank near Santa Maria Kubali, Nicaragua.

Global Service-Learning

Significant research has been central to the development of best practices in global service-learning. We list these pieces immediately below and offer article abstracts farther down the page. Every effort is made to list the abstracts in the same order as the pieces are listed above (generally by most recent publication). The list developed here is listed chronologically in reverse-order, to show the conceptual development and research foundation in this growing field. We kindly request that any individuals interested in adding to this wiki do so by following the guidelines we have established.

Peer Reviewed Articles:


Popular Magazines and Trade Publications: 


Dissertations, Theses, and Other Works: 

Article Abstracts: 

García, N. A, Longo N. V. (2017). Doing More with Less: Civic Practices for Longer-term Impact in Global Service Learning. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad. 29(2). 

This essay explores the potential value of short-term study abroad experiences within the unique framework of a new global service-learning program at Providence College which connects international with local engagement as a way to “do more with less.” The authors first introduce a typology for global service-learning, illustrating how this model fits within current approaches to international service-learning. They then describe a case study, Voices Across Borders, the global service-learning program which provides opportunities for students to engage with rural Nicaraguan and urban Providence youth through projects that harness the power of storytelling to make connections across borders. Based on the lessons from this effort, the essay offers a set of civic practices that can support the longer-term impact of short-term global service-learning, including i) fostering storytelling across borders; ii) cultivating students as partners; iii) developing reciprocal community partnerships; and iv) creating public work, visual, auditory or performing public artifacts. After describing the challenges for short-term international engagement, the authors conclude that global service-learning initiatives might more appropriately be focused on collaborative learning, rather than service, as a way of thinking more comprehensively about the entire global “ecology of education” which links learning at the international and local levels.

Keene, A. S. (2017). On the Promise and Practice of Service-Learning: A Search for Deep Partnerships With Broad Community Impacts. [Review of the book Rebuilding Community After Katrina: Transformative Education in the New Orleans Planning Initiative, by Ken Reardon & John Forester]. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 23(2), 185-191.

This review essay focuses on the book: “Rebuilding Community After Katrina: Transformative Education in the New Orleans Planning Initiative” by Ken Reardon and John Forester. The book details the beginnings, growth, and continued development of the ACORN University Partnership.

Duarte, G. (2016). What to look for in global service-learning: six standards of practice to guide your decisions. OCIC, 7.

Millions of privileged people are traveling to the Global South seeking to make a difference through community service and cross-cultural learning. But this movement of good intentions has produced problems. New ways of preparing, engaging, and following-up from these experiences are necessary to make real and sustainable change. Implementing the following Six Standards of Practice ensures that your process respects everyone’s rights and responsibilities and results in outcomes that build the capacity of people to be agents of change in their own community, North and South. More than mutually and privately beneficial, this improved approach is reciprocally and publicly beneficial.

Friedman, A. M., Gossett, D. R., Saucedo, I., Weiner, S., Young, M. W., Penco, N., & Evert, J. (2016). Partnering with Parteras: Multi-Collaborator International Service-Learning Project Impacts on Traditional Birth Attendants in Mexico. The International Journal of Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement, 4(1).

Medical students are increasingly seeking global health service-learning opportunities; however, the impact of these interventions is often not assessed. In this article, the authors describe a model for global health service-learning programs as well as a pilot tool for assessing program impacts on populations traditionally difficult to evaluate.  Specifically, a group of medical students from the United States, in collaboration with local health officials and a global NGO, successfully implemented a training program for parteras, or traditional birth attendants, in Mexico. The training included educational objectives from the Ministry of Health. A pilot assessment tool was developed which included oral pretest and posttest self-reported knowledge and task-specific ability in 12 program-specific categories. The assessment was administered in an effort to determine educational impact: parteras, who were receptive to students as teachers, reported increased knowledge and skill in all topics except nutrition and postpartum care. The results of the assessment suggest that undergraduate medical students, when collaborating with a facilitating organization, community-based healthcare workers, and local ministries of health, can improve lay birth attendants’ confidence in basic obstetric knowledge and skills through global service-learning. Moreover, creative assessments are required to understand impacts on difficult to access populations. 

Stanton, T. K. (2016). [Review of the book New Directions and Strategies for Community Engaged Scholarship: International Perspectives by Marianne A. Larsen]. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 22(2), 48-54.

A review on Marianne Larsen’s book “New Directions and Strategies for Community Engaged Scholarship: International Perspectives.”  The book is focused on voices and perspectives of ISL partners and community hosts in the global South and brings up issues of paternalism and colonization that may be present in partnerships. The book also talks about legitimizing the voices of the global South.

Stocking, V. B. (2016). [Review of the book Higher Education and Community-Based Research: Creating a Global Vision by Munck, R., McIlrath, L., Hall, B., & Tandon, R.]. Partnerships: A Journal of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, 7(1), 58-61.

A review essay based on “Higher Education and Community-Based Research: Creating a Global Vision”. This book includes community partner perspectives from around the globe, has advice for those wishing to do community-based research, and includes ways to grow together with a community partner and share knowledge together.

Breitkreuz, K. R., & Songer, T. D. (2015). The Emerging 360 Degree Model for Global Citizenship Education. The International Journal of Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement, 3(1).

Collaborative efforts in the health sciences and STEM fields offer tremendous opportunities for providing solutions to the global challenges of reducing poverty and improving health care. Global health care challenges necessitate the investigation of new interdisciplinary educational approaches for higher education. This article presents a formal approach for developing students into well-equipped global citizens, through the Emerging 360 Degree Model for Educating Socially Responsible Global Citizens. This model provides a framework for creating educational environments and academic coursework that promotes global citizenship education. Students’ knowledge, comprehension, and skills are addressed through in-class discussion and experiential international service-learning in a “village network” setting. Post-trip reflection and presentations embedded in the model encourage students to explore deeper layers of meaning, and leadership and team influences propel students to engage as socially responsible global citizens. This article describes the Emerging 360 Degree Global Education Model and reports on initial findings of the impact of the educational approach on student learning. Qualitative and quantitative data from student surveys and reflective essays offer information on students’ growth in global citizenship understandings.

Schaffer, M. A., Hargate, C., & Marong, K. (2015). Engaging Communities in Nursing Education. The International Journal of Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement, 3(1).

This article highlights the efforts of a nursing program at a faith-based university to implement community engagement learning experiences in an undergraduate
curriculum with the aim of preparing nurses to contribute to reducing health disparities, value cross-cultural efficacy, and develop a commitment to serving diverse populations.  Students participated in community engagement learning experiences over five semesters in the same community organization, which was either a church, school, or other organization that served diverse populations.  Both survey and focus groups were used to determine community partner, student, and faculty perceptions of community engagement learning experiences over the five semesters. Implications of evaluation data were used to revise both the structure and process of community engagement strategies.  Revisions included strengthening orientation strategies; offering additional support for students in establishing relationships in their community organization; providing guidelines for communication between students, faculty, and community partners; and creating a plan for faculty oversight of student experiences.

Shallenberger, D. (2015). Learning from Our Mistakes: International Educators Reflect. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, XXVI, 248-263.

The work of an international educator is challenging, due to complex situations across multiple cultures, conflicting values, and paradigm-pushing educational encounters. It is to be expected that these professionals will make mistakes. The overarching lesson here is that we should not be fearful of tripping up, but rather be open to learning from the mistakes we make. Granted, our workplaces and institutions must honor and support us as we err and stumble, and, for some of us, that is unlikely. But perhaps, as we learn more about the value of learning through our mistakes, we will find a greater welcome for experimentation.

Toms, C. (2015). Alternative Breaks: From the Margins to the Mainstream. [Review of the book Working Side by Side: Creating Alternative Breaks as Catalysts for Global Learning, Student Leadership, and Social Change by Shoshanna Sumka, Melody C. Porter, & Jill Piacitelli]. Michigan Journal for Community Service Learning, 22(1), 72-77.

A review essay based on “Working Side by Side: Creating Alternative Breaks as Catalysts for Global Learning, Student Leadership, and Social Change” by Shoshanna Sumka, Melody C. Porter, and Jill Piacitelli. The book focuses on how alternative breaks can serve as ways to introduce students to global learning, and the why alternative breaks deserve to be given as much attention in the literature as longer term service experiences.

Bathum, M., & Whitaker, J. (2014). Bridging Borders With Mexico: Creative Strategies to Promote Engaged International Service LearningPartnerships: A Journal of Service-Learning & Civic Engagement, 5(2), 104-124.

In this paper, the authors reflect upon the challenges they faced in an international service-learning course offered to U.S. undergraduate students about the complexities of the U.S. relationship with Mexico. The goal was to provide students with a critically-informed service experience involving a fully collaborative social exchange among their student group, Mexican immigrants, and the home communities in Mexico. Despite its departure from the model service-learning experience, the authors conclude that the project was nonetheless meaningful and worthwhile. They liken this kind of work to the process of creating humus: a messy, undefined organic process, full of questions, mistakes, uncertainties and a lack of control for outcomes, yet essential for the fertility of the soil and for plant growth.

Berinyuy, C., Chapman, D., McDaniel, M., Eilerts, H., Ford, C., Pendlebury, S., Swap, R. J. (2014). The adaptive cycle as a lens through service-learning: Community engagement partnershipsA Journal of Service-Learning & Civic Engagement, 5(2), 153-177.

This paper deploys the adaptive cycle as a construct to understand the dynamics of community engagement and partnership building during an international service-learning project. A multi-disciplinary team of USA-based university students collaborated with a local community in Zambia to build two ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines. Post-field project reflection challenged the product-first view commonly held in service learning projects. Time was a central point of post-field reflection. Through critical scrutiny, the student team came to recognize that contextually sensitive relationship building had been essential in enabling community ownership of the project. The construct of the adaptive cycle provided a crucial analytical tool for tracing the process through which partners from very different backgrounds achieved a sense of common purpose and opened the way for an understanding of community engagement as weaving a thread through the complex dynamics of partnership. The adaptive cycle may be useful as a preparation and implementation framework for other service-learning projects emanating from institutions of higher education.

Hartman, E., & Kiely, R. (2014). Pushing boundaries: Introduction to the global service-learning special section. Michigan Journal or Community Service Learning, 20(1), 55-63.

Welcome to the Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning’s special section on global service-learning (GSL). In this introduction we describe how we each came to the field of GSL – some of its emphases and values that drew us to and sustain our commitment with this work, discuss some highlights of what GSL practice can learn from other bodies of literature and practice, share a few thoughts on the interplay of the local and the global, identify five themes distinguishing domestic service-learning (SL) from GSL, and introduce some noteworthy past and current work on GSL including the Web site aimed at advancing GSL research and practice. We end by describing the evolution of and process we used for this special section on GSL and introduce the two articles selected for this Journal issue.

McMillan, J., & Stanton, T. (2014). “Learning service” in international contexts: partnership-based service learning and research in Cape Town, South Africa. Michigan Journal or Community Service Learning, 20(1), 64-78.

In this paper we explore an approach to developing and implementing service-learning and community-based research in a study-abroad program in Cape Town, South Africa. Drawing on a notion of partnerships reflecting the values of accompaniment and transparency, and influenced by the importance of learning service, we outline an intentional, engaged pedagogy and program design emphasizing collaborative inquiry and partnership development. However, such an approach is challenging and demands that we include an ontological project as part of our work. This, we believe, is crucial if global service-learning (GSL), often taking place in the Global South, is to become a robust, critical, and ethical practice.

Whitley, M. A. (2014), A draft conceptual framework of relevant theories to inform future rigorous research on student service-learning outcomes. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 20(2), 19-40.

While the quality and quantity of research on service-learning has increased considerably over the past 20 years, researchers as well as governmental and funding agencies have called for more rigor in service-learning research. One key variable in improving rigor is using relevant existing theories to improve the research. The purpose of this article is to present a draft conceptual framework of relevant theories that can inform the study of service-learning effects on students. This proposed conceptual framework draws from theories, theory-based models and frameworks, and theory-based research. Practitioners and researchers are encouraged to review, test, and critique this proposed conceptual framework so as to advance the discussion regarding the use of relevant existing theories on service-learning research as well as practice.

Crabree, R. (2013). The Intended and Unintended Consequences of International Service-LearningJournal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 17(2), 43-66.

Previous research on service-learning in international contexts tends to focus on the benefits and outcomes for students and educational institutions. This essay is intended to provoke further examination of issues related to university-community engagement in global contexts, particularly in terms of the consequences for host communities.  In order to explore complex issues surrounding international service-learning, the author offers a composite scenario in a series of snapshots gleaned from projects organized by U.S.-based organizations and universities in partnership with host country organizations and communities. Revealed are a variety of typical outcomes— intended and unintended, positive and negative—for students, faculty, organizations and their staff, and the communities that host visiting service-learning teams. A framework for analysis is offered along with recommendations for ways to mitigate potential unintended negative consequences of international service-learning.

García, N., & Longo, N. (2013).Going global: re-framing service-learning in an interconnected world. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 17(2), 111-136.

This essay argues for the importance of re-framing international service-learning as global service-learning. This includes recognizing the entire “ecology of education,” the interconnected web of relationships in which learning can occur at home and abroad. It draws upon the experiences of developing a new program in global studies at Providence College that focuses on civic engagement with global and local communities, along with interviews and a focus group with majors in the program. The essay concludes with a call for using service-learning as a vehicle to educate global citizens not merely as a one-time experience, but rather as part of an integrated curricular process.

Handler, R. (2013). Disciplinary adaptation and undergraduate desire: Anthropology and global development studies in the undergraduate curriculum. Cultural Anthropology, 28(2), 181-203.

Like most disciplinary scholars, anthropologists have been reluctant to reorganize their undergraduate programs to speak directly to student concerns. Yet, students are oriented, both intellectually and proto-professionally, to issues like global development, about which anthropologists have much to teach. This article examines student assumptions about development and about the interdisciplinary knowledge they think they need to understand it. I outline a critical pedagogy to respond to student ideas about development. I then sketch the cultural assumptions and bureaucratic structures that work to marginalize interdisciplinary programs. I conclude by suggesting ways anthropologists could adapt their undergraduate programs to “colonize” new curricular territories frequently defined in interdisciplinary terms.

Niehaus, E. & Crain, L. K. (2013). Act local or global? Comparing student experience in domestic and international service-learning programs. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 20(1), 31-40.

International service-learning (ISL) is a popular way to facilitate student growth in the areas of cross-cultural learning and civic engagement. However, many have questioned whether international trips provide any added value compared to domestic service-learning. Using the context of Alternative Break programs, this study compares student experiences in similarly structured international and domestic service-learning programs. In doing so, it contributes to the larger debate over the relative costs and benefits of international service-learning programs.

Piacitelli, J., Barwick, M., Doerr, E., Porter, M., & Sumka, S. (2013). Alternative break programs: from isolated enthusiasm to best practices: the Haiti compact. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 17(2), 87-110.

Alternative break programs, which are short-term service-learning trips, immerse students in direct service and education, resulting in the creation of active citizens who think and act critically around the root causes of social issues. Over the last 20 years, domestic alternative breaks have effectively created strong community partnerships and fostered student development. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, universities around the United States were seeking opportunities to offer “hands on” aid, and the need for best practices to avoid potential pitfalls of international volunteerism became plainly apparent. In response, a small group of alternative breaks professionals from five U.S. universities came together with Break Away (the national alternative breaks nonprofit organization), to form the Haiti Compact. The Compact developed best practices for international alternative breaks, allowing staff and students to overcome potential harm done to communities while contributing to student learning and engagement. This essay shares those practices and their application to work in Haiti.

Sherraden, M., Bopp, A., & Lough, B. (2013). Students serving abroad: a framework for inquiry. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 17(2), 7-42.

International service by students is gaining greater attention at colleges and universities around the world. Some research has examined the effects of international service for students, but relatively few studies have examined outcomes for host communities and sponsoring organizations, including colleges and universities. Beginning with an examination of theoretical and empirical research from the fields of international volunteerism, international service-learning, and international study abroad, this article proposes a framework for inquiry on international service programs. It suggests that differences in outcomes for students, host communities, and home colleges and universities are the result of variations in individual and institutional characteristics and service activities. Finally, the article considers implications for future research, including hypotheses and research designs to test differences across programs and educational institutions.

Stokamer, S. (2013). Pedagogical catalysts of civic competence: the development of a critical epistemological model for community-based learning. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 17(1), 113-122.

Democratic problem-solving necessitates an active and informed citizenry, but existing research on service-learning has shed little light on the relationship between pedagogical practices and civic competence outcomes. This study developed and tested a model to represent that relationship and identified pedagogical catalysts of civic competence using five years of survey data from over 10,000 students in approximately 700 courses. The results strongly substantiate the proposed model, with knowledge, skills, attitudes, and actions as epistemological components of civic competence. Most importantly for the social justice aims of service-learning, the study found that diversity significantly enhances all civic competence outcomes. Finally, the results demonstrated that service must be thoroughly integrated into a course through the syllabus and community partnership to maximize civic competence. These findings and the new Critical Pedagogy Model of Civic Competence through Service-Learning provide direction for faculty development and future research related to cultivating competent citizens through service-learning.

Quigley, K. (2013). The peace corps and higher education: finally the envisioned partnership? Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 17(2), 137-152. 

A number of structural and contextual changes underway suggests that now that the Peace Corps has begun its second half-century, it may be the opportune time for a broader and deeper strategic partnership with higher education along the lines that the Peace Corps founders’ envisioned. That partnership would involve higher education playing an expanded role in recruiting, training, and evaluating Peace Corps volunteers to supplement the more than 100 existing partnerships between the Peace Corps and higher education in graduate study.

Reiff, J., & Keene, A. (2012). Best practices for promoting student civic engagement: lessons from the citizens scholars program and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 16(4), 105-127.

This article introduces the Citizen Scholars Program, a 2-year service-learning and leadership development program that integrates theory and practice to help students develop the knowledge, skills, and vision the authors believe they need in order to build community, be effective citizens, and advocate for social justice. The authors present 16 learning objectives, five methods used to assess the program, 17 program best practices, and four program challenges.

Bowman, N. A., Brandenberger, J. W., Snider Mick, C., & Toms Smedley, C.  (2010). Sustained immersion courses and student orientations to equality, justice, and social responsibility: The role of short-term service-learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 17(1), 20-31.

Previous research has established numerous outcomes associated with taking service-learning course- work during college. However, most studies have examined the impact of three- or four-credit courses involving engagement of several hours per week, and other research has suggested that the gains associated with service-learning are directly related to the amount of time spent engaging with the community. This study explored whether one-credit courses employing a single, sustained community immersion experience (2-7 days) are capable of improving college student outcomes. A total of 354 students who participated in one-credit service-learning courses, along with 115 students who participated in three-credit summer service-learning courses with longer immersions (8-10 weeks), completed surveys gauging orientations toward equality, justice, and social responsibility. Students in the one-credit courses gained significantly on the majority of outcomes, and these increases were generally comparable to those of students taking longer three-credit courses. Implications for practice are discussed.

Crabtree, R. (2008). Theoretical foundations for international service-learningMichigan Journal of Community Service, 15(1), 18-36.

International service-learning (ISL) combines academic instruction and community-based service in an international context. Objectives of linking international travel, education, and community service include increasing participants’ global awareness, building intercultural understanding, and enhancing civic mindedness and skills. Research on cross-cultural adjustment, approaches to community development, models of democratic research, and a variety of pedagogical theories are discussed as foundations upon which we can better understand the intellectual and political context for ISL and the student learning it makes possible. These literatures also provide frameworks for creating ethical ISL experiences that positively impact the communities and developing countries where we work and can inform project assessment and critique, as well as future research.

Hatcher, J. A., & Erasmus, M. A. (2008). Service-learning in the United States and South Africa: A comparative analysis informed by John Dewey and Julius NyerereMichigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 15(1), 49-61.

As the prevalence of service-learning within higher education institutions grows across the globe there is value to explore, discuss, and describe the similarities and differences between the various expressions that are emerging. Such comparative analysis can deepen understanding of service-learning pedagogy, improve practice, and create a framework for future research. This paper compares service-learning in the United States and South Africa to understand Western-oriented and Africanized expressions of this promising teaching strategy. The analysis identifies three dimensions derived from the educational theories of John Dewey and Julius Nyerere and finds there is mutual agreement as to the value of developing civic-minded graduates. However, in the U.S., service-learning is supported primarily by nonprofit associations and stakeholders within higher education, whereas in South Africa, service-learning is a part ofstate mandated transformations for higher education.

Sherraden, M. S., Lough, B. J., & McBride, A. M. (2008). Effects of international volunteering and service: Individual and institutional predictors. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 19(4), 395-421.

Despite unprecedented recent expansion of international volunteering and service (IVS), there has been relatively little research on impacts. This paper proposes a conceptual model for impact research based on existing research evidence published in English. The model suggests that outcomes for host communities, volunteers, and sending communities vary depending on individual and institutional attributes and capacity. How institutions structure and leverage individual capacity influences who participates and how they serve, and shapes the impact of volunteer action. The conceptual model provides directions for future research.

Smith-Paríolá, J., & Gòkè-Paríolá, A. (2006). Expanding the parameters of service learning: A case study. Journal of Studies in International Education, 10(1), 71-86.

Service learning is an increasingly significant component of academic programs on many college campuses. International studies programs and study-abroad programs are becoming important frontiers in this trend. Today, many colleges and other organizations provide students with opportunities for service learning in international settings. However, a common assumption of such programs is that students will spend at least a full semester abroad. This article examines how service learning can be effectively incorporated into short-term programs—that is, programs lasting only 2 to 3 weeks. Referencing a particular 2-week study-abroad program in Jamaica and drawing from the literature on service learning, we discuss the special challenges that confront such programs and propose strategies for successfully grappling with those challenges.

Kiely, R. (2005). A transformative learning model for service-learning: A longitudinal case study. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 12(1), 5-22.

This article presents a longitudinal research study that led to the development of a theoretical framework for explaining how students experience the process of transformational learning in service-learning. The article describes nonreflective and reflective dimensions of the process of transformational learning. The author recommends that future research focus on supporting the transformative potential of service-learning.

Keith, N. V. (2005). Community service-learning in the face of globalization: Rethinking theory and practiceMichigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 11(2), 5-24.

Globalization is a multifaceted phenomenon that does not yield easy definitions. The author examines  three of its interconnected faces—neoliberalism, time-space compression, and globalism—to trace their implications for two principles of service-learning practice:reciprocity and meeting community needs. The article reconceptualizes these two principles,concluding that interdependence is a better fit with the values and practices of the field than reciprocity; conceptions of community should emphasize difference and intersection of public and private spaces; and community needs should be defined to support citizenship action, public work, and social justice.

Sternberger, L. (2005). International service-learning: Integrating academics and active learning in the world. The Journal of Public Affairs, 8, 75-96.

From initial efforts in the 1960’s, service-learning in general and international service-learning in particular have assumed an increasingly prominent place in higher education. Both students and educators have recognized that such programs offer an unparalleled opportunity to integrate classroom theory with real world application and promote powerful learning and personal transformation, while responding to pressing needs within the larger global community. This essay examines the process by which international service-learning evolved from a domestic focus; describes the philosophy, learning outcomes, and components of successful international service learning programs; presents a number of model approaches and programs; and highlights current scholarship regarding the impact of international service-learning as well as potential directions for future research.

Monard-Weissman, K. (2003). Enhancing caring capacities: A case study of an international service-learning program. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 8(2), 41-53.

This article highlights the theoretical framework of care to describe the relationships nurtured among students and community members who were involved in the International Partnership for Service-Learning Program in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The data for this article derive from participant observation, field notes, semi-structured and informal interviews, and students’ extensive reflective writings collected during the summer of 2001. This article presents the outcomes of the program as they relate to the framework of care. These outcomes are presented in four categories: (1) building connections; (2) sharing feelings toward the cared-for; (3) being a “family”; and (4) responding to the
cared-for’s needs. These outcomes generate questions about the challenges of fostering caring relationships among diversely situated groups of individuals engaged in international service-learning experiences.

Zitomer, D. H., & Johnson, P. (2003). International service learning in environmental engineering. In P. Bizier & P. DeBarry (Eds.), World water & environmental resources congress 2003 and related symposia. Proceedings of the congress, June 23-26, 2003, Philadelphia, PA (pp. 1917-1924). Reston, VA: American Society of Civil Engineers.

Educational experiences that relate social and technical subjects offer students the opportunity to reflect on the broad significance of environmental engineering. Although it is often difficult to join social and technical subjects in a classroom setting, the link may be more easily made through service learning projects in which students use classroom knowledge and hands-on service to implement solutions for a given community. As an example, a senior civil and environmental engineering student project to design a sanitary sewer for an in-need community in San Benito, Guatemala, is described. Students traveled to the site, performed a land survey, and gathered other design data while also learning about Guatemalan history and culture. The students apply knowledge from required courses and the humanities/social science class “Latin American Health, Infrastructure, and Environment” to arrive at an appropriate final design. The international design project is described as an approach to increase student appreciation of the engineering profession and support educational goals, such as increased understanding of engineering solutions in a societal context, and the ability to function on a multidisciplinary team.

Porter, M., & Monard, K. (2001). Ayni in the global village: Building relationships of reciprocity through international service-learningMichigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 8(1), 5-17.

Understanding and fostering reciprocity is a central aim of service-learning programs. This article highlights the indigenous Andean concept of ayni as a means of integrating reciprocity into a broader, holistic framework. This approach also stretches our understanding of interdependence along trajectories that extend well beyond a traditional Western framework. We present data drawn from a semester-long seminar and Alternative Spring Break spent building a school in highland Bolivia. Analysis from extensive student reflective writings and discussions provide personalized responses to core questions. Elements of ayni are applied to critique both the practice and pedagogy of service-learning, and to raise questions about the challenges of fostering reciprocity among diversely situated citizens of the global village.

Grusky, S. (2000). International service learning: A critical guide from an impassioned advocate. American Behavioral Scientist, 43, 858-867.

International service-learning programs burst with potential and stumble with the weight of contradictions left unattended. Without thoughtful preparation, orientation, program developments and the encouragement of study, as well as critical analysis and reflection, the programs can easily become small theaters that recreate historic cultural misunderstandings and simplistic stereotypes and replay, on a more intimate scale, the huge disparities in income and opportunity that characterize North-South relations today. Integrated into a well-developed program, international service learning can fulfill its potential as a transformational experience for students informing subsequent study and career choices. This article identifies seven loaded issues in international service learning that, if addressed with creativity and forethought, can provide important opportunities for critical analysis, study, and reflection and in the process bring international programs closer to achieving their transformational potential.

Simonelli, J. (2000). Service learning abroad: Liability and logisticsMetropolitan Universities, 11(1), 35-59.

Learning, logistics, and liability are the three “l’s” which define off-campus experiential programs. For those planning these experiences, the liability component, including safety issues, legal concerns, and ethical responsibility to the communities we work in, can threaten program viability and overshadow educational objectives. A service focus increases these difficulties, and demands specialized preparation by all involved.

Stachowski, L. L., & Visconti, V. A. (1998). Service learning in overseas nations: U.S. student teachers give, grow, and gain outside the classroomJournal of Teacher Education, 49(3), 212-219.

Weigart, K.  (1998).  Academic Service Learning: Its Meaning and Relevance. In R. Rhoads and J. Howard (Eds.), Academic Service Learning:A Pedagogy of Action and Reflection.  New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 73. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

This chapter has three purposes: to clarify what academic service learning entails; to identify some of the crucial debates in the field; and to invite faculty and administrators who are not yet familiar with it to consider its implementation. I first highlight some elements of contemporary higher education that serve as background for the growth and relevance of academic service learning, and then turn to a detailed examination of it.

Williams, D. D., & Eiserman, W. D. (1997). Expanding the dialogue: Service-learning in Costa Rica and Indonesia. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 4, 90-97.

This article reviews findings from a study on service-learning in universities in Indonesia and Costa Rica. Much can be learned from other countries regarding service-learning’s role in community development and university commitment to service-learning. A new book on service-learning in higher education (Jacoby, 1996) “provides a historical overview and a context for understanding the essential linkage of service and learning; it describes the current state of practice; and it highlights the relationship between service-learning and institutional educational goals” (p. 5). Although the several authors examine predominant assumptions underlying the combining of community service and academic learning in higher education, offer several illustrative examples from colleges and universities, and explore issues related to designing and administering service-learning programs, the focus is almost exclusively on servicelearning in the United States. But, as questions are asked and plans are developed for service-learning programs, whether on individual, institutional or national levels, we can learn from the experiences of those who have been involved in the development and implementation of service-learning programs in other contexts too. Existing programs outside the United States may inform service-learning in this country. Unknown to many, some of the most comprehensive and innovative approaches to service-learning have been designed and implemented in developing countries (Eberly & Sherraden, 1990). In the present study, the University of Costa Rica’s compulsory service-learning program, which began in 1975, is compared to a similar, even older program in Indonesia. This article explores the historical roots, program components, perceived outcomes, and strengths and weaknesses of programs in Costa Rica (the Trabajo Comunal Universitario or TCU projects) and Indonesia (the Kuliah Kerja Nyata or KKN projects).

Book Summaries:

Larsen, M. A. (2015). International service learning: Engaging host communities. New York, NY: Routledge.

International service learning (ISL) programs are growing more popular with students looking to advance their skills and knowledge to become global citizens. While the benefits of these programs among students are well documented, little is known about the implications they have on host communities themselves. This volume explores the impact of ISL programs on members of host communities (e.g. host families and local partner NGOs) who are increasingly influenced by the presence of international students in their lives. Drawing upon post-colonial, feminist and other critical and decolonizing theories, it examines the complicated power relations between North American ISL students and host communities in East and West Africa, the Caribbean and Central America. It stresses the importance of developing trusting relations between ISL students, faculty and individuals in the host communities to create mutually engaging learning experiences.

Sobania, N. (Ed.) (2015). Putting the local in global education: Models for transformative learning through domestic off-campus programs. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

This book presents both the rationale for and examples of “study away”, an inclusive concept that embraces study abroad while advocating for a wide variety of domestic study programs, including community-based education programs that employ academic service-learning and internships.

With the growing diversification―regionally, demographically, culturally, and socio-economically―of developed economies such as the US, the local is potentially a “doorstep to the planet” and presents opportunities for global learning. Moreover, study away programs can address many of the problematic issues associated with study abroad, such as access, finance, participation, health and safety, and faculty support. Between lower costs, the potential to increase the participation of student cohorts typically under-represented in study abroad, the lowering of language barriers, and the engagement of faculty whose disciplines focus on domestic issues, study at home can greatly expand the reach of global learning.

The book is intended for study abroad professionals, multicultural educators, student affairs professionals, alternative spring break directors, and higher education administrators concerned about affordably expanding global education opportunities.

Sumka, S., Porter, M. C., & Piacitelli, J. (2015). Working side by side: Creating alternative breaks as catalysts for global learning, student leadership, and social change. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

This book constitutes a guide for student and staff leaders in alternative break (and other community engagement, both domestic and international) programs, offering practical advice, outlining effective program components and practices, and presenting the underlying community engagement and global learning theory.

Readers will gain practical skills for implementing each of the eight components of a quality alternative break program developed by Break Away, the national alternative break organization.

The book advances the field of student-led alternative breaks by identifying the core components of successful programs that develop active citizens. It demonstrates how to address complex social issues, encourage structural analysis of societal inequities, foster volunteer transformation, and identify methods of work in mutually beneficial partnerships. It emphasizes the importance of integrating a justice-centered foundation throughout alternative break programs to complement direct service activities, and promotes long-term work for justice and student transformation by offering strategies for post-travel reorientation and continuing engagement.

The authors address student leadership development, issue-focused education, questions of power, privilege, and diversity, and the challenges of working in reciprocal partnerships with community organizations. They offer guidance on fundraising, budget management, student recruitment, program structures, the nuts and bolts of planning a trip, risk management, health and safety, and assessment and evaluation. They address the complexities of international service-learning and developing partnerships with grassroots community groups, non-governmental and nonprofit organizations, and intermediary organizations.

For new programs, this book provides a starting point and resource to return to with each stage of development. For established programs, it offers a theoretical framework to reflect on and renew practices for creating active citizens and working for justice.

Bringle, R., Hatcher, J. & Jones, S. (2011). International service learning: Conceptual frameworks and research. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

International Service Learning (ISL) borrows from the domains of service learning, study abroad, and international education to create a new pedagogy that adds new and unique value from this combination. It is a high-impact pedagogy with the potential to improve students’ academic attainment, contribute to their personal growth, and develop global civic outcomes.The international service experience provides opportunities for additional learning goals, activities, and relationships that are not available in a domestic service learning course or in a traditional study abroad course. The service experience develops reflection while shedding light on and providing an added dimension to the curricular component of the study abroad course. The international education component further broadens students’ perspectives by providing opportunities to compare and contrast North American and international perspectives on course content.

This book focuses on conducting research on ISL, which includes developing and evaluating hypotheses about ISL outcomes and measuring its impact on students, faculty, and communities. The book argues that rigorous research is essential to improving the quality of ISL’s implementation and delivery, and providing the evidence that will lead to wider support and adoption by the academy, funders, and partners. It is intended for both practitioners and scholars, providing guidance and commentary on good practice. The volume provides a pioneering analysis of and understanding of why and under what conditions ISL is an effective pedagogy.

Individual chapters discuss conceptual frameworks, research design issues, and measurement strategies related to student learning outcomes; the importance of ISL course and program design; the need for faculty development activities to familiarize faculty with the component pedagogical strategies; the need for resources and collaboration across campus units to develop institutional capacity for ISL; and the role that community constituencies should assume as co-creators of the curriculum, co-educators in the delivery of the curriculum, and co-investigators in the evaluation of and study of ISL. The contributors demonstrate sensitivity to ethical implications of ISL, to issues of power and privilege, to the integrity of partnerships, to reflection, reciprocity, and community benefits.

Tonkin, H. (Ed.). (2004). Service-learning across cultures: Promise and achievement. New York, NY: International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership.

Service-learning links service to the community with formal academic study, for the enrichment of both, and is gaining in popularity among students and their teachers. What happens when we add the dimension of another culture and another part of the world?

This book, the culmination of a three-year, three-part study funded by the Ford Foundation, explores the effects of international service-learning on the students who participate, the institutions where they study, and the agencies where they perform their service. It tells us that international service-learning is a transforming experience for all concerned, and a means through which we can create citizens and individuals who are responsive to the needs of others, civically engaged, and prepared for a peaceful future based on the globalization of compassion, tolerance, and understanding.

The conclusions, based on sound research, provide useful advice to those initiating service-learning; those seeking to make the practice of international service-learning an ongoing commitment of their college or university; and those eager to encourage participation in study abroad programs that immerse students in the foreign culture, thereby making education abroad as rich and beneficial as possible for the students. Contributors: Humphrey Tonkin, Susan J. Deeley, Margaret Pusch, Diego Quiroga, Michael J. Siegel, John Whiteley, and Robert G. Bringle.

Popular Magazines and Trade Publications: 

Mlyn, E. (2013). Higher education and civic engagement: the example of DukeEngage. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 45(5), 36-42.

The civic mission of American colleges and universities has received renewed attention over the last decade. From the “engaged campus” designation now offered by the Carnegie Endowment for the Advancement of Teaching to the growth of Campus Compact (from 782 institutional members in 2000 to 1150 in 2012) to major institutional investments in civic-engagement programs and centers across the nation, the historical importance of the civic mission in American higher education is ascendant. Notable examples of the increasing attention that is being given to engagement include the Tisch College for Active Citizenship at Tufts University, the mandatory service requirement for all undergraduates at Tulane University, and the creation of DukeEngage at Duke University. 

NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Internships, Service Learning, and Volunteering Abroad: Successful Models and Best Practices: Washington, D.C.. 2013.

Edited by experts in the field, Internships, Service Learning, and Volunteering Abroad: Successful Models and Best Practices is for advisers in education abroad, career, volunteer, or service-learning offices who consult with students, as well as administrators of work abroad, internships, service-learning, or volunteer programs. It provides specific resources to help in developing comprehensive work abroad programs as part of the changing nature of education abroad offerings. Advisers to students seeking nontraditional experiences abroad will find this book useful for understanding just what makes the process distinctive in preparing students for work, volunteer, and service-learning experiences. 


Chisholm, L. A. (2003). Partnerships for international service-learning. In B. Jacoby & Associates (Eds.), Building partnerships for service-learning (pp. 259-288). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

It is clear that service-learning has the potential to yield tremendous benefits to students, communities, and institutions of higher education. Increased student learning has been well documented. As communities gain new energy to meet their needs and greater capacity to capitalize on their assets, service-learning enables higher education to fulfill its civic responsibility. When service-learning lives up to its potential to lead colleges and universities to transform themselves into fully engaged citizens of their communities and the world, its ability to bring about positive social change is limitless.

To be successful, service-learning must be grounded in a wide range of solid, reciprocal, democratic partnerships. Building Partnerships for Service-Learning assembles leading voices in the field to bring their expertise to bear on this crucial topic. Faculty, administrators, student leaders, and community and corporate leaders will find this volume filled with vital information, exemplary models, and practical tools needed to make service-learning succeed.

Comprehensive in scope, Building Partnerships for Service-Learning includes:

  • Fundamentals and frameworks for developing sustainable partnerships
  • Assessment as a partnership-building process
  • The complex dynamics of collaboration between academic affairs and student affairs
  • Partnering with students to enhance service-learning
  • How to create campuswide infrastructure for service-learning
  • Profiles and case studies of outstanding partnerships with neighborhoods, community agencies, and K-12 schools
  • Partnerships for collaborative action research
  • Exploring the challenges and benefits of corporate and international partnerships
  • The dynamic relationship of service-learning and the civic renewal of higher education

Building Partnerships for Service-Learning is the essential guide to taking service-learning and partnerships to the next level.

Craft, R. J. (2002). International service learning. In M. E. Kenny, L. A. K. Simon, K. Kiley- Brabeck, & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Learning to serve: Promoting civil society through service learning (pp. 297-313). Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Service learning, as defined by the editors, is the generation of knowledge that is of benefit to the community as a whole. This seventh volume in the Outreach Scholarship book series contributes a unique discussion of how service learning functions as a critical cornerstone of outreach scholarship. The sections and chapters of this book marshal evidence in support of the idea that undergraduate service learning, infused throughout the curriculum and coupled with outreach scholarship, is an integral means through which higher education can engage people and institutions of the communities of this nation in a manner that perpetuate civil society. The editors, through this series of models of service learning, make a powerful argument for the necessity of “engaged institutions”.

Liebowitz, D. J. (2000). TCBY in Limón, Costa Rica: Women’s studies and the (re)construction of identity in international service-learning. In B. J. Balliet & K. Heffernan (Eds.), The practice of change. Concepts and models for service-learning in women’s studies (pp. 163-176). Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education.

This volume, seventh in the Service-Learning in the Disciplines Series, explores the important lessons women’s history and women’s studies hold for the broader service-learning community and the critical opportunity for women’s studies to reconnect with its activist past. The book includes essays with real examples of service-learning projects in women’s studies and lists an extensive bibliography of service-learning and women’s studies sources.

Fairbanks, R., & Foss, T. (1998). The global perspective at St Olaf: Study/service Indonesia. In J. DeVitas, R. Johns, & D. Simpson (Eds.), To serve and learn: The spirit of community in liberal education. NY: Peter Lang.

Written by faculty, staff, and students from ten exemplary programs in service-learning at selected liberal arts colleges across the country, this collection of essays addresses vital issues in liberal learning and education for community. Its focus is the creation of educational goals and strategies for developing a service curriculum and for assuring an integral role for service-learning within distinctive institutional settings. This book highlights intimate connections between theory and practice with a shared emphasis on critical/reflective inquiry, social responsibility, and empowerment.

Dissertation Abstracts:

Hartman, E. (2008). Educating for global citizenship through service-learning: A theoretical account and curricular evaluation. Dissertation. Available at:

The last decade has witnessed substantial increases in US university study abroad programming. Related, there has been a demonstrable spike in university administrators and faculty members suggesting that their institutions prepare students for global citizenship. Yet few institutions have offered a clear conceptualization of what global citizenship is, how they educate for it, or how they measure their progress in that effort. This dissertation addresses the relative dearth of applicable theoretical constructs by offering one such construct, suggesting the specific educative process by which it may be encouraged, and discussing initial efforts evaluating its success. Its three primary contributions are: (1) a particular articulation of global citizenship that draws on existing theoretical approaches while insisting on integration with or development of strong mechanisms for application, (2) clarification of the educative process by which that articulation and practice of global citizenship may be encouraged, and (3) the development and testing of a quantitative instrument for better understanding and evaluating global citizenship and civic engagement. A pre- and post- survey is employed to develop an index of global civic engagement and awareness measures among students (1) not participating in global service-learning, (2) participating in global service-learning without a deliberate global citizenship education component, and (3) participating in global service-learning with clear attention to the integration of a global citizenship curriculum. The findings, buttressed by analysis of related qualitative data, suggest that integration of a carefully developed and articulated theoretical and practical approach to global citizenship education is essential if universities are to be successful in their efforts to create global citizens. Perhaps less intuitive and more alarming, the findings indicate that exposure to study abroad programming absent deliberate global citizenship education efforts may serve to merely reinforce stereotypes, create situations where severe cultural shock and withdrawal are likely experiences, and otherwise serve to cause young US citizens to shrink from rather than engage with the world. Taken as a whole, the analysis suggests the outcomes of many efforts to globalize campuses and create global citizens are unclear at best and that clearer conceptualizations, educative processes, and evaluation efforts are needed.

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