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Do “Days of Service” Meet Institutional Service-learning Goals? Assessing Outcomes of the MLK Day of Service

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Abstract:

In 1994, the United States Congress charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with spearheading the celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) federal holiday as a national Day of Service. Campuses across the country make use of MLK Day of Service events to cultivate linkages between campus constituencies and surrounding communities. These events also are used to demonstrate, primarily through enumeration of participants and service hours, campus commitment to community engagement. Campus administrations may also use MLK Days of Service to introduce the concept of service-learning to students and faculty members without requiring a semester-long course enrollment. While the recent literature has explored outcomes of classroom-based service-learning and engagement activities, less focus has been given to assessing outcomes of extra-curricular campus activities such as annual MLK Days of Service held on many U.S. campuses each January.

We present preliminary quantitative results from use of an exploratory survey instrument designed to collect self-report participant reflection data on multiple dimensions of Day of Service participation. The assessment tool, designed partly to assess learning outcomes related to social justice concepts, was piloted at the 2016 MLK Day of Service event sponsored by a mid-size, mid-Atlantic university serving a diverse population. Student, faculty, staff, community volunteer and community partner participants (N=344) reflected upon service, learning, and university-community connections as part of a multi-method evaluation process. Quantitative analysis of uni-dimensional and summed variables finds significant variation by instructional site and participant affiliation. Such measures and instruments may clarify the role of Days of Service in advancing institutional service-learning goals.

We envisage the development of similar measures and instruments to capture participant reflections on experience of community service, opportunity for learning, and connection with community through increased understanding of social issues across instructional sites, higher education campuses, community organizations and projects.

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tt (16), Significant differences between locations were identified using Kruskal Wallis comparisons for four of the ten item (13), elected quantitative items assessed three key aspects of participation in the MLK Day of Servic (11), ne goal of the study was to create summary (index) variables to represent measures of self-reported reflection on service, learning, and community connection. Initially, an index variable for Service [SUMSERV] was designed to include reflection on whether participants felt tha (9), olunteering. Voluntas, 27, 425-464. do (8), o create an index to measure reflection on learning [SUMLEARN], three variables were combined, including statements noting agreement with whether participant (7), inally, to compute an index measure of connection with community [SUMCONNECT], two variables were utilized. First, participants indicated their level of agreement with Statement 6, about making a connection with people impacted by the MLK Day of Service project [CONNECTPPL]. Second, participants reported level of agreement Running hea (7), n 1994, the United States Congress charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with spearheading the celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) federal holiday as a national Day of Service (CNCS, n.d.). Campuses across the country make Running hea (7), tatistical differences were discovered following nonparametric comparisons among participants by affiliation for three item (7), erspectives, 35(2), 76-82. htt (6), dolescence, 28, 359–368. http (6), earning. Retrieved from http (6), ethods for gathering data from participants included multiple components meant to address four key aspects of the experience of interest to the assessment tea (6), 5–63. http (6), ere we present preliminary quantitative results from use of an exploratory survey instrument designed to collect self-report participant reflection data on multiple dimensions of Day of Service participation. The assessment tool, designed partly to assess learning outcomes related to social justice concepts, was piloted at the 2016 MLK Day of Service event sponsored by a mid-size U.S. university serving a diverse population. We demonstrate that quantitative measures can be designed effectively to reflect elements of an institutional service-learning framework such as service, learning, connection and reflection, and to capture variation in factors of interest across campus sites and participant roles. We envisage the development of similar measures and instruments to capture Running hea (5), he current study provided an opportunity to test quantitative measures of service, learning, and connection as part of a multi-method assessment of participants’ experiences in the MLK Day of Service. These measures were moderately successful in capturing Running hea (5), tatistical comparisons were also conducted to identify differences in responses to the ten items among four categories of affiliation to the campus or communit (4), omparisons were conducted among four instructional site (4), n line with institutional goals and team members’ scholarly and professional priorities, emergent topics for assessment included building connections between the university, local organizations and communities, and cultivating awareness of social justice issues, particularly among students. Essentially, in recognition that the assessment “tail” might have the capacity to “wag the dog” of the service-learning experience, the team Running hea (4), ll respondents were asked to identify their role in the MLK Day of Service as either a university student, faculty or staff member, “at-large” community member volunteer (including university alumni), or representative of a service organization (“community partner”), as well as the campus site and organization where they spent their day, and the kinds of projects and tasks they worked on. Participants, who either had submitted volunteer applications ahead of time or were day-of “walk-ins,” were asked for their preferences of campus site and project type based on interest in ten subject areas categorizing 39 available community projects into broad topics including hunger and homelessness, political and social issues, health and wellness, and literacy and learning. Participants at some sites had the option to participate in more than one project, depending on their scheduling availability and the design and time-length of project activities. In the Running hea (3), nd student learnin (3),
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Association:
Name: American Sociological Association Annual Meeting
URL:
http://www.asanet.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1380189_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Erbaugh, Elizabeth. and Bonnan-White, Jess. "Do “Days of Service” Meet Institutional Service-learning Goals? Assessing Outcomes of the MLK Day of Service" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Pennsylvania Convention Center & Philadelphia Marriott, Philadelphia, PA, Aug 09, 2018 <Not Available>. 2018-12-11 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1380189_index.html>

APA Citation:

Erbaugh, E. B. and Bonnan-White, J. , 2018-08-09 "Do “Days of Service” Meet Institutional Service-learning Goals? Assessing Outcomes of the MLK Day of Service" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Pennsylvania Convention Center & Philadelphia Marriott, Philadelphia, PA Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2018-12-11 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1380189_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In 1994, the United States Congress charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with spearheading the celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) federal holiday as a national Day of Service. Campuses across the country make use of MLK Day of Service events to cultivate linkages between campus constituencies and surrounding communities. These events also are used to demonstrate, primarily through enumeration of participants and service hours, campus commitment to community engagement. Campus administrations may also use MLK Days of Service to introduce the concept of service-learning to students and faculty members without requiring a semester-long course enrollment. While the recent literature has explored outcomes of classroom-based service-learning and engagement activities, less focus has been given to assessing outcomes of extra-curricular campus activities such as annual MLK Days of Service held on many U.S. campuses each January.

We present preliminary quantitative results from use of an exploratory survey instrument designed to collect self-report participant reflection data on multiple dimensions of Day of Service participation. The assessment tool, designed partly to assess learning outcomes related to social justice concepts, was piloted at the 2016 MLK Day of Service event sponsored by a mid-size, mid-Atlantic university serving a diverse population. Student, faculty, staff, community volunteer and community partner participants (N=344) reflected upon service, learning, and university-community connections as part of a multi-method evaluation process. Quantitative analysis of uni-dimensional and summed variables finds significant variation by instructional site and participant affiliation. Such measures and instruments may clarify the role of Days of Service in advancing institutional service-learning goals.

We envisage the development of similar measures and instruments to capture participant reflections on experience of community service, opportunity for learning, and connection with community through increased understanding of social issues across instructional sites, higher education campuses, community organizations and projects.


 
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