Beyond the Soup Kitchen Model and Drive-By Volunteerism: Transformative Civic Engagement - an Analysis of Learning Outcomes

S. Suzan J. Harkness

University of the District of Columbia

February 1, 2010

As institutions expand their curriculum to include experiential, active, and community-based learning opportunities they struggle with models of practice that have deep and lasting impact. Civic engagement is a popular activity and hopeful outcome across American institutions of higher education. It is often the objective, that through engagement with political process, or solving social problems, students will gain skills and an appetite toward civic obligation and responsibility to community. It is progressive and ambitious in intention when seen as the objective although as a curricular activity, the endeavors are often episodic volunteerism rather than sustained engagement aligned with outcomes. The pedagogical approach rarely utilizes reflection as a means to help students make meaning of their engagement. As a result, educators lack evidence of the effectiveness of these curricular activities, and we know little about the affordances associated, such as gains in efficacy. The purpose of this study was to examine learning outcomes and effectiveness of an experiential program. This paper will discuss the outcomes of a civic engagement model embedded within a Washington, D.C., internship program. The study used the Council for Academic Standards (CAS) assessment rubrics as a model to examine outcomes from twenty-five students during the 2008 academic year. The findings demonstrate promise and evidence that students shifted toward an awareness of social responsibility and increased efficacy as a result of their participation.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 17

Keywords: Experiential Education, Internship, Civic Engagement, Efficacy, Reflection, Learning Outcomes, Assessment, Affordances

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Date posted: February 2, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Harkness, S. Suzan J., Beyond the Soup Kitchen Model and Drive-By Volunteerism: Transformative Civic Engagement - an Analysis of Learning Outcomes (February 1, 2010). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1546246 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1546246

Contact Information

S. Suzan J. Harkness (Contact Author)
University of the District of Columbia ( email )
4200 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
United States
202-274-5657 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.udc.edu
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