History and Philosophy of Higher Education
Annotated Article on Urban Higher Education
#8: 232 words
The author, former director of the Joint Educational Project, University of Southern California, examines service learning programs by looking at The Joint Educational Project (JEP) pioneered in 1972 by Barbara Gardiner. JEP’s focus on schools led to three basic patterns for student engagement in the community: 1) participant observers; 2) mini-course instructors; and 3) practicing newly acquired skills. An added element for students and JEP faculty was reflection. Faculty members viewed the JEP faculties as PA’s thereby freeing them up to continue as usual while the PA’s monitored the students. This model worked for thirty years in maintaining civic engagement but without really preparing the students for civic roles or as a contributor to social justice. The services were not integrated into the courses. The author looks at data to suggest what happens, for example, in the JEP Model and then suggest a service learning model where there is real commitment by faculty. The author suggests that the institutions are failing in civic engagement. Direct service is not the answer without systemic solutions. Students do not seem to grasp two issues: critical issues do not begin with the “have-nots” but with the “haves” and the connections between what we have and what others lack. Mentors are needed to uncover the deeper truths. Perhaps, the author suggests it is no accident that the greatest civic educator was Socrates who taught through asking questions.