Faculty Research on Community-Engaged Learning
In addition to teaching community-engaged learning courses, many faculty members at the University of Toronto undertake research on innovative community-engaged teaching and learning experiences. The Centre for Community Partnerships supports this important work through facilitating events or publishing scholarship on community-engaged learning and by providing editorial and proposal development services for faculty research on community-engaged learning. Contact us to discuss your research plans.
Bibliography of U of T faculty research
Allahwalla A., Bunce, S., Beagrie, L., Brail, S., Hawthorne, T., Levesque, S., von Mahs, J., Visano, B. (2013). Building and Sustaining Community-University Partnerships in Marginalized Urban Areas. Journal of Geography, 112:2, 43-57.
Abstract: This symposium explores and examines the challenges and opportunities of building community-university collaborations in marginalized urban areas. The selection of short essays highlights different experiences of building and sustaining community-university partnerships in a variety of cities as vehicles for enhancing experiential learning in geography, urban studies, and cognate disciplines. The aim is to foster a debate among geographers about the role of community-university partnerships in marginalized urban areas and their potential for advancing reciprocal activities that address community needs while offering new circumstances for university outreach and teaching.
Brail, S. (2013). Experiencing the city: Urban Studies Students and Service Learning. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 37:2, 241-256.
Abstract: Service-learning represents a method of learning in which students learn through volunteering, while at the same time being asked to reflect on their experiences and tie together experience with classroom-based material, thereby developing their learning through service activities. This paper explores the role and value of service-learning in Urban Studies and is based on a review of student reflective journals written following a service-learning experience in which undergraduate students were given the opportunity to volunteer outside the classroom as part of their coursework in an introductory Urban Studies course at the University of Toronto. Evaluating student learning through service-learning based reflection enables further understanding of how students learn through exploration of the urban realm.
Chambers, Tony. (2009). A Continuum of Approaches to Service-Learning within Canadian Post-secondary Education.Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 39:2, 77-100.
Abstract: This article provides a multi-level conceptual framework for service-learning that can serve as a decision-making guide for service-learning initiatives in Canadian post-secondary education. Service-learning approach options along a non-hierarchical continuum (philanthropic, social justice, and social transformation) are examined; the theoretical clusters used to frame this examination include experiential education, social learning, student development, and liberatory education. Various dimensions and potential implications of each approach are explored. Regardless of the particular service-learning approach adopted by Canadian institutions, decision makers and participants should be conscious of the parameters and potential impact of their chosen approach.
Khabli, N., Liu, B., Seifert, T., Arnot, M. (2013). Effects of Academic Service Learning in Drug Misuse and Addiction on Students’ Learning Preferences and Attitudes Toward Harm Reduction. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education,77:3, 1-9.
Objective: To examine academic service-learning pedagogy on student learning and perceptions of drug misuse and addiction.
Design: Third- and fourth-year pharmacology students were exposed to an academic service-learning pedagogy that integrated a community service experience with lectures, in-class discussions and debates, group projects, a final paper, and an examination. Reflective writing assignments throughout the course required students to assimilate and apply what they had learned in the classroom to what they learned in their community placement.
Assessment: Changes in students’ responses on pre- and post-course survey instruments reflected shifts toward higher-order thinking. Also, subjective student-learning modalities shifted toward learning by writing. Students’ perspectives and attitudes allowed improved context of issues associated with drug misuse and harm reduction models.
Conclusion: Academic service-learning pedagogy contributes to developing adaptable, well-rounded, engaged learners who become more compassionate and pragmatic in addressing scientific and social questions relating to drug addiction.
Levkoe, Charles, Brail, Shauna and Amrita Daniere. (2014). Engaged Pedagogy and Transformative Learning in Graduate Education: A Service-Learning Case Study. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 44:3, 68-85.
Abstract: Operating at the interface between ideas and action, graduate education in geography and planning has a responsibility to provide students with theoretical and practical training. This paper describes service-learning as a form of engaged pedagogy, exploring its ability to interrogate notions related to the “professional turn” and its contributions to transformative learning. Using a case study of a graduate-level service-learning course at the University of Toronto, we address the challenges associated with service-learning and highlight opportunities for students, faculty, universities, and community organizations. Our case study is based on assessment and analysis of the course and contributions to student learning, professional development, and community engagement. We contend that, at the graduate level, service-learning is an underutilized pedagogical tool. Service-learning can impart high-demand skills to graduate students by transforming how students learn and move from knowledge into ideas and ultimately action, and by offering opportunities for developing higher-order reasoning and critical thinking.
Locklin, R. (2010). Weakness, Belonging and the Intercordia Experience: The Logic and Limits of Dissonance as a Transformative Learning Tool. Teaching Theology and Religion, 13:1, 3-14.
Abstract: Educational theorist Richard Kiely highlights the central importance of “high intensity dissonance” in successful international service-learning. This essay applies Kiely’s model of dissonance and transformative learning to Intercordia, an international service-learning program offered at the University of St. Michael’s College and the University of Toronto, in partnership with the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Intercordia Canada. By placing its students in situations of significant vulnerability and weakness, the Intercordia program attempts to problematize familiar assumptions about the otherness of oppressed persons and thereby to encourage an authentic sense of belonging across boundaries of difference. The results, as reported by participants in the program, are quite profound. At the same time, the program design invites critical questions about how, and to what extent, such transformative experiences of dissonance should be scripted for students as an expected and desired result of their international service.
Locklin, R., Tiemeier, T., & Vento, J. (2012). Teaching World Religions without Teaching “World Religions.” Teaching Theology and Religion, 15:2, 159-181.
Abstract: Tomoko Masuzawa and a number of other contemporary scholars have recently problematized the categories of “religion” and “world religions” and, in some cases, called for its abandonment altogether as a discipline of scholarly study. In this collaborative essay, we respond to this critique by highlighting three attempts to teach world religions without teaching “world religions.” That is, we attempt to promote student engagement with the empirical study of a plurality of religious traditions without engaging in the rhetoric of pluralism or the reification of the category “religion.” The first two essays focus on topical courses taught at the undergraduate level in self-consciously Christian settings: the online course “Women and Religion” at Georgian Court University and the service-learning course “Interreligious Dialogue and Practice” at St. Michael’s College, in the University of Toronto. The final essay discusses the integration of texts and traditions from diverse traditions into the graduate theology curriculum more broadly, in this case at Loyola Marymount University. Such confessional settings can, we suggest, offer particularly suitable – if somewhat counterintuitive – contexts for bringing the otherwise covert agendas of the world religions discourse to light and subjecting them to a searching inquiry in the religion classroom.
Journals and publishing outlets
Publishing Outlets for Service-Learning and Community-Based Research (Campus Compact)
Journals that Publish Community-Engaged Scholarship (University of North Carolina)
Journals that Focus on Engaged Scholarship (Campus Compact)
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Journals (University of Toronto LibGuide)