Establishing Global Service Learning Courses

9 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2010


Global service-learning courses have the potential to help political scientists achieve multiple teaching goals and there is a strong desire among institutions to develop such programs. What might prevent a political scientist from developing a global service-learning course? This paper examines the challenges that a political scientist might find when working with a foreign local population in establishing a global service learning course on politics. The paper (and presentation) first turns to the literature on global service-learning to see if there is an extant prescription for immersing American students in a foreign environment for the purposes of service-learning. Next, it draws on the dual experiences of the author in establishing global service-learning courses since 2005—one successful, the other replete with failures but ultimately salvaged. The paper concludes that (1) there are unusual challenges for politics-specific global service-learning courses and (2) such undertakings require broad and deep local cooperation, which is sometimes difficult to cultivate under the best of conditions.

Keywords: service-learning, political science, study abroad

Suggested Citation

Mislan, David Bell, Establishing Global Service Learning Courses. 2010 APSA Teaching and Learning Conference Paper. Available at SSRN: or

David Bell Mislan (Contact Author)

Rosemont College ( email )

Rosemont, PA 19010
United States
610-527-0200 (Phone)

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