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The unrecognized co-educator in academic service-learning: Community partners’ perspectives on college students serving diverse client populations

Alexa N Darby, Frances Ward-Johnson, Tammy Cobb


Universities strive to teach about diversity through their curriculum and classroom discussions; however, students may rarely encounter diverse populations on the college campus. Thus, faculty members have turned to academic service-learning to expose students to diverse client populations. Scholarship on academic service-learning has focused primarily on faculty and student perspectives, rarely accounting for the crucial role of community partners as co-educators in this endeavor. The present study investigates community partners’ perspectives on how academic service-learning impacts students whose backgrounds differ from those of their organization’s clients. The study highlights two main themes that community partners view as central to their role as co-educators in diversity education: college students’ initial responses to diverse clients, and the process through which community partners help college students understand different ways of life. Eliciting community partners’ perspectives will help university administrators, college students, and faculty understand the significant role community partners and clients can play in advancing diversity education. 


service-learning, community partners

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Partnerships is sponsored by North Carolina Campus Compact, and hosted by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. ISSN: 1944-1061
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