Readings on SLCE

Content Overview:

  1. What articles do you recommend on SLCE?
  2. Referenced Texts in “SLCE and Student Learning”


What articles do you recommend on SLCE?

Below are titles we at SLS particularly recommend for those new to SLCE, as well as those looking for perspectives specific to SLCE in engineering and sustainability education.


Brundiers, Katja and Arnim Wiek. "Educating Students in Real-world Sustainability Research: Vision and Implementation." Innovative Higher Education, 36 (2) (2011) 107–124.

Brundiers and Wiek, through their work at Arizona State University, one of the leading sustainability programs in the nation, have created a compelling “vision of sustainability research.” Through examining specific cases, they discuss the benefits and challenges of problem-based learning with outside partners (a kind of SLCE that we are are also positioned to do very effectively here at Tech), and they offer insight into what makes such projects successful.


Cipolle, Susan Benigni. Service-Learning and Social Justice: Engaging Students in Social Change. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010.

Cipolle offers a broader framework for SLCE, suggesting that it is an integral part of the moral and civic education of undergraduate students. In accessible language, she outlines the advantages of using SLCE in a "co-created curriculum," one in which students and professors are engaged in the development of critical perspectives on social problems and on ways to produce solutions in collaboration and dialogue with community partners. 


Mitchell, Tania D. "Traditional vs. Critical Service-Learning: Engaging the Literature to Differentiate Two Models." Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning 14.2 (2008).

In this important article, Mitchell challenges the ways that “traditional service learning” leaves structural inequality unexamined, failing to guide students toward an understanding of its roots. What Mitchell calls “a social change orientation” and an aim to “redistribute power” distinguish critical service learning from traditional service learning.  It is not necessary to be logged in as a GT user on the library website to read this article; you can access it here.


Oakes, William and Marybeth Lima. Service Learning Engineering in Your Community. St. Louis, MO: Great Lakes Press, 2006.

This volume is an excellent introduction to what makes for successful, “socially beneficial” engineering projects that engage challenges faced by non-profits or community partners.  Oakes, the Co-Director of Engineering Projects in Community Service at Purdue, and Lima review components of such projects—such as reflection, communication, and ethics in partnerships—which contribute to productive and reciprocal partnerships and high impact experiences for students.


Tinkler, Alan, et al. "Key Elements of Effective Service-Learning Partnerships from the Perspective of Community Partners." Partnerships 5.2 (2014).

This collaboratively written article helpfully urges readers on the instructor/professor side to consider what makes for a successful and reciprocal relationship with the community partner. In concert with their own local partners, Tinkler et al identify six main characteristics of successful partnerships, pointing out that the development of an “effective relationship” is different from the creation of an effective deliverable.  Effective relationships are the product of intentional work, which place considerations such as partner resources and partner mission at the center of relationship-building between instructors and community organizations.  


Referenced Texts in “SLCE and Student Learning”:

Ash, S. L., Clayton, P. H., & Atkinson, M. P. (2005). “Integrating Reflection and Assessment to Capture and Improve Student Learning.” Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 11(2), 49-60.


Astin, A. W., Vogelgesang, L. J., Ikeda, E. K., & Yee, J. A. (2000, January). How Service Learning Affects Students. Los Angeles, CA: Higher Education Research Institute, University of California.


Downing, K., Kwong, T., Chan, S. W., Lam, T.F., & Downing, W.K. (2009). “Problem-Based Learning and the Development of Metacognition.” Higher Education, 57, 609-621.


Eyler, J. S., & Giles, D. E., Jr. (1999). Where’s the Learning in Service Learning? San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


Hirschinger-Blank, N. & Markowitz, M. W. (2006). “An Evaluation of a Pilot Service-Learning Course for Criminal Justice Undergraduate Students.” Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 17(1), 69-86.


Hutchings, P. (2010, April). “Opening Doors to Faculty Involvement in Assessment.” National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. Retrieved from


Jameson, J. K., Clayton, P. H., & Bringle, R. G. (2008). “Investigating Student Learning Within and Across Linked Service Learning Courses.” In M. A. Bowdon, S. H. Billig, & B. A. Holland (Eds.), Scholarship for Sustaining Service Learning and Civic Engagement (pp. 3-27). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.


Novak, J. M., Markey, V., & Allen, M. (2007). “Evaluating Cognitive Outcomes of Service Learning in Higher Education: A Meta-Analysis.” Communication Research Reports, 24(2), 149-157.


Pinzón, D. P., & Arceo, F. D. B. (2005). “Critical Thinking in a Higher Education Service Learning Program.” In K. M. Casey, G. Davison, S. H. Billig, & N. C. Springer (Eds.), Research to Transform the Field (pp. 89-110). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.


Prentice, Mary, and Gail Robinson. "Linking Service Learning and Civic Engagement in Community College Students." American Association of Community Colleges (2007).


Sedlak, C. A., Doheny, M. O., Panthofer, N., & Anaya, E. (2003). “Critical Thinking in Students’

Service Learning Experiences.” College Teaching, 51(3), 99-103.


Steinke, P., & Fitch, P. (2007). “Assessing Service Learning.” Research and Practice in Assessment, 1(2), 1-8. Retrieved from