Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Type

Capstone - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Advisor

Dan Sarofian-Butin


Service-learning has become a powerful pedagogical practice in Higher Education. Yet many of its practices have been premised on the idea that participants are white and serving a community unlike their own. Research suggests that the perspectives and identities of students of a diverse background participating in service-learning experiences may be unheard and/or misunderstood. Through a qualitative exploratory study, this study examined the perspective of nonwhite students. Four students from two higher education institutions selected to participate in a set of longitudinal, semi-structured, in-depth interviews in order to better understand their perspectives and experiences in their service-learning field site. Service-learning experiences are currently reinforcing the negative assumptions of the practice, but through this study, the stories and voices heard will hopefully change the assumptions and stereotypes to be more positive and accepting of all participating. Upon conclusion of this research study, it has been determined that more work needs to be done to prepare and educate the field of higher education and the effects of service-learning for diverse students. Recommendations for moving beyond this study would be to open the participant pool, expand the amount of higher education institutions that have students be interviewed, and begin creating orientation workshops to educate what it’s like for a student to serve a community like their own.