Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Paper: Measuring Community Impact: Perspectives from Three Fields of Literature


A promising new area of applied curriculum in nonprofit management education is service-learning. Scholars describe service learning as “…an educational methodology which combines community service with explicit academic learning objectives, preparation for community work, and deliberate reflection” (Gelmon, Holland, Driscoll, Spring & Kerrigan, 2001, p. v).

In nonprofit management education, students engage in a variety of service-learning projects in local nonprofit organizations. These service-learning projects are also called applied projects. At the University of San Diego, students in the Nonprofit Leadership and Management graduate program are required to engage in one or more applied projects during each course throughout their degree program. Examples of these applied projects are, developing Board Manuals, Financial Management Practices, and much more.

Although current literature evaluates student attitudes and learning outcomes in service-learning, very few research studies measure or evaluates the impact service-learning has in the nonprofit community or how service-learning could be used as a capacity-building tool for nonprofit organizations. In this paper I review literature that addresses the issue of measuring potential capacity-building tools for nonprofits such as nonprofit management education and service-learning. In addition, I will suggest ways to integrate three distinct fields of literature: nonprofit management education, service-learning and capacity-building to show the usefulness of theories and methods in each field to evaluate community impact and capacity-building efforts.

Gelmon, S. B., Holland, B. A., Driscoll, A., Spring, A. & Kerrigan, S. (2001) Assessing
service-learning and civic engagement: Principles and techniques
. Providence, RI:
Campus Compact.

I have been doing a lot of reading and writing in my doctoral program and as you can probably guess, I put a lot of effort into writing papers over this past year. But now I am trying to figure out whether or not I should post the papers I wrote this year on my blog. So please answer the following questions.

A. Would like a copy of my paper to read?
B. Do you think I should try to condense my paper down to look like a nice 3-5 page research report and post it on my blog?
C. Should I leave my work in the academic community and not make it available on my blog?

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