CSU Impact - CSL Newsletter
Volume II, No. 4
Your monthly source of Community Service-Learning News
December 9, 2004

News Stories

Thomas Ehrlich is a senior scholar at The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching where his work focuses on enhancing moral and civic responsibility among undergraduates.

Recognition Opportunities

Do you know a student or faculty member who is deserving of national recognition? Consider these award opportunities:

- Call for Nominations: Tom Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service Learning – deadline is February 16, 2005.

- Call for Nominations: Howard R. Swearer Student Humanitarian Award– deadline is February 9, 2005.

The Engaged Scholar

In this month’s column, Carlos Benito, faculty at Sonoma State University, provides insights into the dynamic tension between the private and public good.

CSL 411

11 CSU faculty from 5 campuses presented at this year’s International Service-Learning Research Conference. The diverse topics included service learning and civic engagement from a disciplinary perspective, engaging faculty in service-learning research, and teacher education from multiple perspectives.


Recognizing Campus Excellence

Service learning at two CSU campuses has recently been honored by external organizations:

CSU Hayward professors, Pauline Kelzer and Melanie Spielman, and several students were recognized with a statewide Best Practices Award from the American Cancer Society for CSU Hayward’s contributions to the Relay for Life event. Students from health sciences, recreation and community services, and a freshman seminar organized and promoted the event, including distributing health education information. CSU Hayward is being commended for its interdisciplinary use of service learning, including its successful results in raising over $90,000 to contribute to cancer prevention programs.

CSU Monterey Bay’s service-learning program is recognized as an outstanding example, in this year’s America’s Best Colleges publication, a report released by US News and World Report. CSU Monterey Bay was one of 24 institutions in the nation to receive this recognition, and is one of the few—perhaps the only—public universities in the country where service learning is a graduation requirement.

Congratulations to both campuses on this noteworthy news.

Research Findings: Service Learning Impacts Retention

Research on the impact of service-learning courses on students’ attitudes and behaviors is becoming more extensive. Not only are researchers interested in the immediate effect on students’ views of themselves and their roles within their communities, but they are also interested in determining intermediate results, such as the association between service learning and retention rates. Recent findings from two studies demonstrate that connection:

  • Studies on retention have found that first-year students participating in service learning were more likely to report that the courses were academically challenging and encouraged their continued study at the university. (Service Learning and Engagement, Academic Challenge, and Retention, S. M. Gallini and B. E. Moely, Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, v.10(1), 2003)
  • “Students, enrolled at 14 Indiana campuses, who had taken a service-learning class in the previous fall semester were significantly more likely to return to the same campus the following year.” (Preliminary findings, R. G. Bringle, 2004)

This research affirms the critical effect that service learning has on student retention, which is an area of great interest for the CSU. Partnerships between CSU service learning and first year programs are being developed; and in some cases, strong models already exist. CSU Fullerton, for example, integrates service learning into their five freshmen learning communities. More information on the collaboration between these programs will be shared in future issues of this e-newsletter.