Service-Learning at a Hispanic-Serving Institution: A Preliminary Study

Service-Learning at a Hispanic-Serving Institution: A Preliminary Study

By Andrew H. Smith, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

An area of political science education that has received renewed attention since the late 1990s is service learning – defined as an active-learning pedagogy in which students participate in community activities related to public or social policy. Although scholars have made advances in service-learning pedagogy, scholars often approach questions of pedagogy from the standpoint of Predominantly-White Institutions (PWI’s), ignoring the lower socioeconomic status among students at many non-PWI’s and – most germane to this article – the lack of focus on the emerging Hispanic/Latinx populations at American universities, and the growing number of colleges and universities which can be classified as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI’s). Taking a “traditional” (non-critical) approach to service learning pedagogy, I do find that many existing practices (structured reflections, mandatory hours, etc.) apply well to HSI students, but practitioners should adjust the required hours and organizational availability to reflect the unique experiences of HSI students.

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The Journal of Political Science Education is an intellectually rigorous, path-breaking, agenda-setting journal that publishes the highest quality scholarship on teaching and pedagogical issues in political science. The journal aims to represent the full range of questions, issues and approaches regarding political science education, including teaching-related issues, methods and techniques, learning/teaching activities and devices, educational assessment in political science, graduate education, and curriculum development.


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