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The Humanities Conference 2003

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"A Small Opening" Using Service Learning in the Service of the Humanities and Humanity

Margaret Brabant.


The educational and community service programming conducted by Butler University's Center for Citizenship and Community is informed by the belief that students' critical and logical reasoning skills and moral imaginations are enhanced and stimulated through sustained engagement with communities that lie both within and beyond the university campus. Using the service-learning pedagogy, students learn how issues of poverty, illiteracy and social injustice are manifest at both local and international levels and they begin to grasp how, as world citizens, they possess both the capacity and responsibility to affect positive change for humanity.

Informed by the educational mission of Butler University, the goals of the Center for Citizenship and Community are predicated upon the belief that education is key to social transformation and that an informed and active citizenry can exercise a measure of control over the political, social, and economic factors that affect human beings within their local, national and international environments. The center’s approach to problem solving is comprehensive: it is a university-wide undertaking with community support that seeks to instill within students and community members alike the belief that social practices informed by intellectual inquiry can bring about positive change for individuals, families and all world citizens.

By supporting and nurturing the service-learning pedagogy, the center's staff encourages faculty in the humanities and throughout the university to employ the pedagogy as one that better enables faculty to inculcate with their students a notion of civic mindedness. Civic mindedness may be understood as a worldview in which individuals are conscious of the needs and desires of others, their own sense of efficacy and empathy, and their self-identity as world citizens. From this perspective, individuals acting as citizens display a willingness to participate in public processes because they have the ability to trust other human beings and believe their efforts serve humanity.

This paper presents specific examples of how the service-learning pedagogy is influencing humanities teaching in higher education.

Presenters

Margaret Brabant  (United States)
Director,
Center for Citizenship and Community
Butler University


Keywords
  • Citizenship
  • Service-learning pedagogy, Community
  • International



(30 min Conference Paper, English)