Schulz Information Center

“For sociology, then, service-learning offers the opportunity for our students to acquire a better theoretical and conceptual understanding of the discipline because the problem areas in which they work have been and continue to be the core issues of our discipline.” 1
—Dr. Sam Marullo, Sociology, Georgetown University

SSU faculty member

Service-Learning in Sociology

Thank you for your interest in service-learning in Sociology. The CCE can help you create or deepen your service-learning class. We provide models of other courses, sample syllabi, resources for course construction, reflective analysis tools, and risk management support.

Service-learning activity usually falls into two categories:

TYPE 1) Teaching/tutoring/sharing knowledge from the class
Example: Sociology students at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia took part in a service-learning project at a local high school in which they focused “on a specific problem i.e. what to do about preventing teen pregnancies in the schools.” They identified “programs that could most effectively reduce pregnancies in the schools and…designed an optimal strategy for working with the schools in this intervention.” “A by-product of this experience was that students recognized how privileged they are. This made them also feel less ‘entitled’ and more ‘analytical,’ [more inclined] to give something in return.” Regarding the university students’ relationship with the high school students, “It did not necessarily create a sense of hopefulness, but neither did it make them disengage, because they experienced the difference that they made by being in the situation.” 2

TYPE 2) Using information in the class to do something with/for a community organization.
Example: Students in a Community and Modern Metropolis course at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, “gathered baseline data needed by a neighborhood community development corporation (CDC).” The data and student reports are “being used by the neighborhood developer to assess and monitor the changes that have taken place in two high-rise apartments built by for-profit developers but recently converted to nonprofit, affordable housing under the management of the CDC.” There has been a 20-year relationship between the university and the CDC so it is clear that there is a synergy for both involved. 3

Please contact us for more information.

Elaine Wellin and Peter Phillips have instructed several service-learning classes and may be willing and able to share advice.

1 Marullo, Sam. "Sociology's Essential Role: Promoting Critical Analysis in Service-Learning." Cultivating Sociological Imagination: Concepts and Models for Service-Learning in Sociology Eds. James Ostrow, Garry Hesser, and Sandra Enos. Washington D.C.: AAHE, 1999. 11-27. Print.

2 Enos, S. “Service-Research Projects in the Urban School: A Dialogue with Frank Furstenberg, Jr., of the University of Pennsylvania.” Cultivating Sociological Imagination: Concepts and Models for Service-Learning in Sociology Eds. James Ostrow, Garry Hesser, and Sandra Enos. Washington D.C.: AAHE, 1999. 73-81. Print.

3 Hesser, G. “Examining Communities and Urban Change: Service-Learning as Collaborative Research.” Cultivating the Sociological Imagination: Concepts and Models for Service-Learning in Sociology. Eds. James Ostrow, Garry Hesser, and Sandra Enos. Washington D.C.: AAHE, 1999. 135-149. Print.