Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

The Potential for Service-Learning

Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

The Potential for Service-Learning

Article excerpt

In recent years there has been an unprecedented degree of public examination and criticism of the American higher education system, with its knowledge-generation status, funding supports, instructional practices, and curricular offerings coming under vigorous critical scrutiny. The upshot of this barrage, however, is not cleanly or uniformly targeted, as administration, faculty, staff, and even students can be found on all sides of a growing discomfort with the traditional role of the academy and its utility in the postmodern era. It appears that many of higher education's cherished truisms and sacrosanct assumptions about the very core enterprise of teaching, knowledge, and learning are on the block.

The intent of this special issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly (AEQ) is not to address the debate directly, but to acknowledge its presence as a backdrop to some positive developments that touch on a goodly share of the university's mission and modus operandi in America. According to many scholars, the problems college graduates will face in the future will not be organized according to the categories of traditional academic disciplines, and the solutions will cross borders of discrete categories of research and study. This prediction has encouraged many educators to reconsider the mission of American education and see how it can better fit the fast changing world picture, a world that will be more globally oriented. Our schools and universities need to move beyond training young people for specific tasks; education must enable students to think critically and act deliberatively in a pluralistic world.

This alternative approach demands a different kind of learning and thus, a different set of beliefs about teaching. …

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