CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.
Stay Connected:
The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

Service-Learning Emerging Scholars Works-in-Progress Seminar 2007

emerging scholarsIn June 14-16, 2007, Brandeis University’s Center for Youth and Communities (CYC), CIRCLE, and the International Center for Research on Civic Engagement and Service-Learning (ICR-CESL) at the University of California, Berkeley convened the first ever Service Learning Works-in-Progress. The Seminar was funded through a Catalyst Collective Action grant from the Service-Learning Leaders Circle, using funds generously provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Leaders Circle is administered by the National Service-Learning Partnership at the Academy for Educational Development.

The goals of the Seminar were to provide support and encouragement for a new generation of diverse service-learning researchers, improve the quality of research, promote increased publication, dissemination, and utilization of research, and in doing so, to build links between service-learning and research in related-fields.

Seminar attendee Gary Homana recently wrote “Research in Service-Learning: Publishing Opportunities Resource List.” This resource list initially included suggestions from the 15 prominent researchers and 10 emerging scholars participating in the Seminar. Building on that list, he reviewed over 500 articles for service-learning content resulting in this current list of 93 potential research publishing opportunities. The Ulrich database and various web searches provided detailed information on each of the publications. In addition, the journals and periodicals listed on the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse Web site have been incorporated into this document.

The emerging scholars were selected in a national competition. You can click on their names to read more about them and their papers:

The emerging scholars were assigned mentors: scholars and practitioners who have deep experience in the field. Each mentor committed to reading and reflecting on draft papers and providing ongoing guidance and support. The mentors in attendance were: Chris Chapman (National Center for Educational Statistics), Constance Flanagan (Penn State University), Deborah Hecht (New York University), Mark Hugo Lopez (CIRCLE/University of Maryland), Julie C. Rodriguez (The César E. Chávez Foundation), Rob Shumer (University of Minnesota), Judith Torney-Purta (University of Maryland), and Wendy Wheeler (Innovation Center for Youth and Community). The organizers of the event also acted as mentors: Larry Bailis (Brandeis University), Andy Furco (University of California, Berkeley), Peter Levine (CIRCLE), and Alan Melchior (Brandeis University).

Also participating and providing advice and comments were: Nelda Brown (executive director, National Service-Larning Partnership) Amy Cohen (director, Learn & Serve America), and Scott Richardson (K-12 Program Coordinator, Learn & Serve America). CIRCLE’s Dionne Williams and Abby Kiesa played critical roles in organizing and planning the meeting.

Emerging Scholars


“Helping Others and Helping Oneself: A Meta-Analysis of Service-Learning Programs”

Christine Celio
Loyola University, Chicago

Bio: Christine I. Celio is a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Loyola University, Chicago. She holds a master’s degree in sociology from Stanford University and is interested in the evaluation, and reporting, of service-learning and civic engagement programs. Her interests also include after-school programming and philanthropy research.

Abstract: Service Learning (SL), the connection of community service with academic curriculum, has increased in popularity in recent years as exemplified by increased youth participation in service activities and increased funding for these programs. Previous research has found that SL programs have promoted several competencies, often focusing on civic, social, personal and academic engagement, but the results have been difficult to interpret because of inconsistent findings and the differing metholologies employed in studies. A meta-analytic review of 65 outcome studies designed to evaluate the benefits accruing to the students who participated in SL programs yielded significant positive effects suggesting that students profited personally, civically, socially, and academically (significant mean effects ranged from 0.26 to 0.32). Several recommended practices have been emphasized in the literature as important to the success of SL, such as following a logic model in the execution and evaluation of programs, community involvement, student planning and engagement, and reflection. However, analyses did not yield any significantly different effects for groups of programs that did or did not contain these elements. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.



“Spurs and Stunts: Insights from K-12 Art Teachers Regarding Service-Learning Inclusion”

Min Cho

Virginia Commonwealth University

Bio: Dr. Min Cho holds a bachelor’s degree in Art History from Tufts University, a master’s degree in Arts Administration and a doctorate in Art Education from The Florida State University. She currently is an Assistant Professor in the Art Education Department at Virginia Commonwealth University. While working on her graduate degrees, she was the Associate Director for Florida Learn & Serve, promoting service learning and in particular, arts-based service learning, through training and technical assistance for K-12 teachers, grant writing seminars, evaluation workshops, conference coordination, and project development. She has also directed community arts programs, curated exhibitions, and worked in museums and galleries. Dr. Cho’s current work entails visual art teacher evaluations with service learning, curriculum integration, and teacher professional development. She recently co-authored the premiere arts-based service-learning handbook for K-12 teachers.



“Service Learning and Critical Consciousness Development among Youth of Color in Poverty”

Matthew A. Diemer
Michigan State University

Bio: My interest in k-12 service-learning research is the role of service learning in facilitating a consciousness of social inequality and the motivation to reduce inequality among youth of color who reside in poverty. In an affiliated field, I have examined Paulo Freire’s notion of critical consciousness and models of sociopolitical development (Ginwright & James, 2003; Watts, Griffith & Abdul-Adil, 1999) to understand how poor youth of color develop a consciousness of and motivation to reduce social, political, and racial inequality.My Emerging Scholars project examines the “Katrina Effect,” or how youth of color in poverty who participate in more traditional service learning/civic participation may emerge with a greater consciousness of social, economic and political inequality and an orientation toward reducing social inequality. This work is rooted in Freire’s (1973, 1993) notion of critical consciousness, along with recent innovations in youth sociopolitical development (Morsillo & Prilelltensky, 2007; Watts & Flanagan, 2007) and the work of Westheimer and Kahne (2004). This (ongoing) project connects these disparate fields by examining “traditional” civic participation/service learning (such as helping poor/elderly people in one’s community) that meets a clear community need and “transformational” civic participation/service learning that aims to facilitate social justice and reduce inequality. This project would facilitate greater scholarly understanding of service learning and civic engagement among youth of color who reside in poverty. It would inform service learning policy and practice by suggesting how “traditional” service learning may create an opportunity for learning and reflection about sociopolitical inequality and may provide a source of motivation to produce social change.



“Theories of Social Action in Eighth and Ninth Grade Classrooms”

Shira Eve Epstein
Teachers College, Columbia University

Bio: Shira Eve Epstein recently graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University. She wrote her dissertation on citizenship education in eighth and ninth grade classrooms. She will be a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Education at Vassar College in the Fall.Abstract: In this paper, I analyze three cases of social action curriculum enactment, a form of citizenship education, as they occurred in New York City public schools. When engaging in social action, students both critically consider social problems and take action around these problems. I examine the orientation of the curricula, the intended purposes of the teachers, the knowledge utilized, the participation structures, and student and teacher authority to derive the theories of social action implied within the curricula. Scott, an eight grade teacher, oriented the curriculum within the literacy period with the goal of creating social change, utilized personal and researched knowledge, structured the unit towards independent participation, and shared teacher authority throughout the project. The Urban Youth facilitators, who enacted the curriculum in two ninth grade classrooms, oriented the curriculum as an add-on to the regular day with the goal of igniting student empowerment, utilized solely personal knowledge, structured the unit around collaborative participation, and primarily gave students authority at the initiation of the project. Each curriculum enactment reflects multiple approaches to justice and social change, revealing the complexity of this work as it occurs in classrooms.



“Connecting Service-Learning and School Climate: Implications for Citizenship Outcomes across Racial Groups in the United States”

Gary Homana
University of Maryland

Bio: Gary Homana is a doctoral candidate in Education Policy and Leadership at the University of Maryland–College Park where he focuses on issues concerning citizenship education. As part of his doctoral work, he serves as a graduate assistant for the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) and the National Alliance for Civic Education (NACE) at the School Public Affairs. Gary works closely with Judith Torney-Purta, Professor of Human Development, University of Maryland, on national and international citizenship issues. This collaboration has resulted in numerous publications, reviews, presentations, and workshops. He is also lead author on the School Climate Citizenship Education Climate Assessment (Homana, Barber, & Torney-Purta) developed for the National Center for Citizenship and Learning at the Education Commission of the States. He has served as research associate for the National Commission on Service-Learning, chaired by Senator John Glenn. The Commission was part of Learning In Deed a four-year national initiative, sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to ensure that service-learning would become part of every student’s education throughout the country. Gary was also appointed special assistant to the Governor in the State of Maryland where he was involved in outlining strategies to address education and social policy concerns.Abstract: This study examines the relationship between school climate and two components of service-learning and citizenship outcomes among middle grades students in the United States using items from the 1999 International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement Civic Education Study. Based upon an assessment of school citizenship education climate (a collection of scales relating to school climate that revolves around a framework of seven key dimensions), this paper analyzes the relationship between service-learning and school climate predictors and students’ civic knowledge, expected community participation, norms of social movement, norms of conventional participation, and understanding of democratic concepts. Regression analysis is utilized to examine the effect of the predictors for citizenship outcomes and population groups, as well as potential interactions. By studying how school climate may differentially affect citizenship outcomes for students of different backgrounds more was learned about how to make schools a context for positive citizenship development among diverse groups of students in the United States.



“Service-Learning and the Obligations and Rights of Citizenship”

Shauna A. Morimoto
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bio: Shauna A. Morimoto is a doctorial candidate in sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her dissertation is a comparative, ethnographic study examining the meanings that American high school students attribute to being citizens and how these meanings map on to their civic engagement and service-learning experiences. She is the author (with Lewis Friedland) of the CIRCLE Working Paper “The Changing Lifeworld of Young People: Risk, Resume Padding and Civic Engagement.”Abstract: This paper examines how service-learning generates the expansion of civic life. I argue that high school aged Americans, while heavily involved in volunteerism, still have many social and political concerns that go unaddressed. Through a qualitative, ethnographic analysis, I account for the space where young people participate – whether that participation is civically or politically minded – and examine how this participation generates democratic citizenship. Service-learning itself often leads to civic gains, and sometimes results in both civic and democratic outcomes. However, I find that under certain conditions, civic and democratic outcomes within service-learning programs may conflict. The impact that young people have through their volunteer work provides a crucial link between their volunteer service and their sense of citizenship. I conclude with some possibilities for reconceptualizing volunteerism as empowered work.



“Promoting Political Participation through Service-Learning”

Suzanne Pritzker
Washington University in St. Louis

Bio: Suzanne Pritzker is currently completing a Ph.D. at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis and is a research associate with the school’s Center for Social Development. She is engaged in research on civic engagement and political attitudes among low-income youth and families and on service-learning as a means to increase civic outcomes among K-12 students. She was a recipient of a grant to study service-learning from the National Youth Leadership Council, and her service-learning research has been published in the Advancing Knowledge in Service-Learning series and Growing to Greatness 2006: The State of Service-Learning Project. Suzanne’s research is informed by prior work experience for the Commonwealth of Virginia in the political and policy arena. She teaches master’s level courses on social welfare policy and program evaluation.Abstract: Today’s adolescents appear to be disengaged from policy and political processes. To increase adolescents’ connections with the polity, interventions intentionally designed to develop political knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors are needed. Service-learning suggests promise for increasing political engagement; however current models of service-learning may not be succeeding in this goal. A new socio-political model of service-learning is proposed, calling attention to complementary components that can be integrated with current service-learning models to increase political engagement. Practice, policy, and research implications of this model are discussed.



“Impact of Concurrent Service-Learning Training and Engagement on Pre-Service Teachers”

Trae Stewart
University of Central Florida

Bio: Trae Stewart is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Central Florida. Dr. Stewart earned a Ph.D. in Educational Policy, Planning, & Administration, along with two Masters degrees, from the University of Southern California. He earned his undergraduate degree in French and Spanish from the University of Mary Washington.Dr. Stewart’s research interests include service-learning, teacher education, and gay/lesbian issues in education. Over the past decade, Dr. Stewart has been actively involved in the field of service-learning. He has presented over a dozen papers on service-learning at academic conferences, published articles/chapters on his own service-learning research, and served as a peer-reviewer for national service-learning publications. Most recently, he received a Learn & Serve Special Initiatives grant, the primary aim of which is to increase novice K-12 teachers’ use of service-learning by simultaneously teaching pre-service teachers about service-learning as a pedagogy, having them engage in a service-learning project themselves, and seeing service-learning in action in a K-12 setting.In addition to his scholarship commitments, Dr. Stewart teaches a service-learning course to gifted and talented adolescents through the Civic Education Project (Northwestern University) and Center for Talented Youth (Johns Hopkins University) each summer in Baltimore, Maryland, has infused service-learning in to undergraduate teacher education courses, and serve as a service-learning consultant for Florida Campus Compact.



“Bowling Young II: How Youth Voluntary Associations Affect Voting in Early Adulthood”

Reuben J. Thomas
Stanford University
(and Daniel A. McFarland)

Bio: Reuben J. Thomas is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University. His research focuses on the structure and dynamics of interpersonal social networks and their implications for segregation, stratification, civic participation, family formation, and societal change.Abstract: The great majority of Americans who are eligible to vote eventually become habitual voters, if they live long enough. But making the transition into voting while young, in the first few elections of one’s eligibility, is more problematic. The speed of this transition is highly correlated with socioeconomic background, reproducing political inequalities across generations, but experiences outside of the family can affect it as well. Examining two nationally representative longitudinal datasets, we explore the effects of extracurricular participation in high school on voting in young adulthood by using a propensity score analysis to control for a host of other factors like family background and school achievement. Many high school activities are related to increased voting as young adults, though some show a negative effect. These relationships illustrate that the voluntary associations of high school play a roll in the political socialization of youth as they become adult citizens.