Committed to Connected Learning: Exploring the Experience of Graduate Students Teaching Service-Learning Courses
This research explored the experience of graduate students who taught service-learning courses to undergraduate students at a large research university. The inquiry was grounded in literature about service-learning, the scholarship of engagement, and doctoral education. A qualitative study included interviews with graduate student service-learning instructors and the collection of their teaching documents, propelled by the research question: How does teaching with service-learning shape the development of a graduate student's formation as a scholar? Findings include evidence that these graduate students' teaching practices were rooted in commitment to students and their teaching philosophies were characterized by connected learning. Service-learning proved to be a context in which graduate students could continue to define themselves. These future faculty understood the constraints of the academy and their role in the hierarchy. In addition, their research and their teaching did not converge. The disconnect between their teaching and research contradicts the narrative about "engaged scholarship" as the way for faculty to extend their research interests and knowledge to the public sphere. For the educators involved in this research study, their commitment to service-learning was integral in their development as teachers, even if they did not see the concept of "engagement" as key to their scholarly work.
0745: Higher education