Immersion service learning; tricky but worthwhile

What’s Not in the Syllabus: Faculty Transformation, Role Modeling and Role Conflict in Immersion Service-Learning Courses.
Beth Warner and Judith Esposito
International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 20(3), 510-517. 2009

Immersion service-learning courses provide increased opportunities for faculty and students to experience the transformational effects of service-learning. This paper focuses on the experiences of faculty and the responses of students who took part in several immersion service-learning courses taught between 2005 and 2007 during the Winter term at Elon University in North Carolina. Four major themes were identified as being significant in these immersion service-learning courses: 1) sharing living space impacts the student-faculty relationship, 2) immersion faculty leaders are placed in multiple roles with multiple opportunities for role modeling, 3) immersion faculty experience their own transformative learning, which often further complicates their roles as leaders, and 4) immersion faculty leaders often experience role conflict in maintaining leadership roles and assessing student work in immersion courses. We conclude that while the role conflicts must be negotiated faculty modeling service behavior may have stronger lessons for students and their future civic engagement than other on-campus service learning courses.

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