Date of Award

2-17-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Robert B. Heasley, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

John A. Anderson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

George R. Bieger, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Betsy Crane, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study focused on the role of Franciscanism in relationship to the extent that Franciscan colleges and universities have institutionalized service-learning. Additional factors examined in relationship to the institutionalization of service-learning were age, size, and urbanicity of the institutions; and the age, gender; time at the institution; and instructional time in higher education of faculty at these colleges and universities. Quantitative data gathered from administrators, faculty, students and community partners at 11 colleges and universities revealed several findings. First, levels of organizational and personal Franciscanism are important in the institutionalization of service-learning. Second, levels of both organizational and personal Franciscanism are relatively high for administrators, faculty and students. Third, academic excellence was ranked first and service-learning mid-range. Qualitative research surfaced challenges to the institutionalization process and recommendations for improvement of service-learning programs at these institutions including the importance of the characteristics outlined in Furco’s five dimensional rubric that includes the need for clarity in the institution-wide definition of service-learning; the importance of institutional support including a central office, adequate staffing and funding; on-going training for all stakeholders; publicity for current programs and future opportunities; and recognition and incentives for all stakeholders. Additionally three other challenges were identified: time--for both faculty and students; logistics; and safety for participants. Qualitative findings also revealed that the Franciscan culture at colleges and universities included in the study is a culture of community engagement. This includes not just service-learning, but a broad range of community service and engagement in social justice issues.

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