Connecting Student Academic and Personal Development: Service Learning and Academic Credit
Positioning university education as one point on a continuum of life-long learning requires a recognition that learning takes place in locations in and out of institutions of learning and through connections between these realms. It further requires a recognition that much important learning is not discipline specific. This (and the resulting consequences) needs to be explicitly recognised in considerations of the purposes of higher education in order to maximise learning opportunities for students, particularly if one takes seriously the need to prepare for participation in a knowledge society. One implication that emerges from this perspective is the requirement to support development of student self-authorship and resilience concurrent with academic development. It can be argued that academic gains in the absence of development of student self-authorship -- chosing one’s own values and beliefs as a relational critical thinker – are trivial. Service learning models which are fully integrated into academic credit courses offer one possibility for accomplishing these broader purposes. Service learning also offers, when approached through a critical perspective, the potential for serious consideration of equity and community engagement issues. These are elements of the missions of many institutions of higher learning, while simultaneously supporting broad-based student development and enhancing ‘academic’ growth. This session will propose a relationship between self-authorship and resilience, explore the theoretical rationale for linking student personal and academic development, and will highlight barriers and possibilities for student development offered through service learning.
Keywords: Self-Authorship, Resilience, Student Development in Higher Education, Higher Education, Service Learning
Dr. Deborah A. Day
Assistant Professor, School of Education, Acadia University