Integrating Service Learning and Multicultural Education in Colleges and Universities

By Carolyn R. O'Grady | Go to book overview

11
Service-Learning and Social Reconstructionism: A Critical Opportunity for Leadership

Verna Cornelia Simmons University of Minnesota

Wokie Roberts-Weah National Youth Leadership Council

The expectations for higher education to graduate students who are knowledgeable, skilled, and critical thinkers and who can also effectively live and work in a growing ethnic and culturally diverse society is higher than ever before. Specifically, industry expects higher education to produce workers and leaders who can provide vision, insight, and creative management solutions in an increasingly complex and complicated business environment and world. These expectations require that higher education integrate diversified approaches to teaching, research, and learning where students can simultaneously learn about theory and apply it to "real work" situations. However, the academy often fails to educate students with an understanding of social problems, awareness of democratic citizenship, or the skills to participate effectively ( Gardner, 1990). In the Carnegie Report on Higher Education and The American Resurgence, Newman ( 1985) contended that higher education has not only failed to provide a structural means for linking classroom study with students' direct experience of social problems and issues, it has also failed to educate students with an understanding of these social problems, and with an awareness of the traditional responsibilities of democratic citizenship. In short, we teach our students about what others think, say, and do, but rarely do we challenge them to think a new thought, identify an authentic societal need, and work to solve that need. Leadership in the 21st century

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