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Wednesday, October 11 • 7:30am - 9:00am
Evaluating the impact of service learning on non-profit organizations (90 mins)

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Service Learning is an experiential, collaborative method of teaching which takes a project-based approach. Service learning projects promote academic learning while meeting the needs of the community. The needs of the community are addressed through partnering with non-profit organizations and basing the project around a current need identified by that organization. The distinction between service learning and volunteering is important and is indicated by the participation of students as part of their curriculum. Since the projects are part of the students’ curriculum, they can take various forms that answer identified needs in unique ways.
The Metropolitan Area Coalition for Service Learning (MASCL) is an organization which consists of service learning representatives from almost all the major colleges in the Omaha metro area. The impact of service learning on students has been established to be positive and enriching through pre- and post-service learning surveys conducted by the colleges on students. However, the direct impact of service learning on the community partners has not been formally evaluated.
Researchers began the evaluation of the impact of service learning on community partners by conducting focus groups and creating a survey. Community partners rated their satisfaction with the partnership and decision making, various aspects related to capacity building, and the effectiveness of the group. They also provided responses to a series of open-ended questions. The results of the survey indicate that service learning is contributing positively to the overall capacity of community organizations. Conclusions and recommendations for future directions will be discussed.


Rebecca Erks

University of Nebraska at Omaha

Sheridan Trent

Graduate Assistant, University of Omaha

Wednesday October 11, 2017 7:30am - 9:00am MDT
Colorado Ballrooms