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Thursday, June 23 • 10:30 - 11:20
CON05.06 - The Transformative Potential of High Impact Service-Learning Experiences: A Campus-Community Collaboration in Action

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This workshop explores the transformative potential of community service-learning (CSL), highlighting how this pedagogical approach equips students with the ability to adapt and apply their skills and knowledge towards social change in diverse contexts. Substantively, a campus - community collaboration between the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (London, Ontario) and Brescia University College’s Community Development Program is highlighted.

We conceptualize CSL as a transformational learning model. Specifically:

When something unexpected happens, when a person encounters something that does not fit in with his or her expectations of how things should be, based on past experience, the choices are to reject the unexpected or to question the expectation. When people critically examine their habitual expectations, revise them and act on the revised point of view, transformative learning occurs. (Cranton 2006: 19).

CSL provides the potential for this kind of transformation when students are taken outside of their comfort zones and exposed to the “underside” of CSL. Specifically, when previously held assumptions are uncovered that students are not prepared to process, they can either resist change or embrace change as a result of the new experiences and ideas to which they are exposed. (Jones et al. 2005:4).

During this session, participant engagement will include reflection and dialogue around how to prepare students for community experiences that take them outside of their comfort zones, highlighting the importance of de-briefing and reflection, both during and after the experience. Workshop participants will also take part in a CSL experience simulation, designed to explore and reduce the stigma at the intersection between harm reduction and HIV/AIDS prevention.

By the end of this session, participants will:

1. Better understand the transformative potential of CSL as a pedagogical approach.
2. Have acquired strategies for establishing collaborative and transformative campus-community partnerships.
3. Have experienced CSL through a community experience simulation.


Cranton, Patricia. 2006. Understanding and Promoting Transformative Learning A Guide for Educators of Adults (2nd Ed.). San Francisco: John Wiley and Sons.

Jones, Susan, Jen Gilbride-Brown, and Anna Gasiorski. 2005. “Getting Inside the ‘Underside’ of Service-Learning: Student Resistance and Possibilities” in Dan Butin’s (ed.) Service-Learning in Higher Education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 3-24.


Amy Dvorkin

Student, Brescia University College
avatar for Lisa Jakubowski

Lisa Jakubowski

Associate Professor, Brescia University College (at Western University)
Lisa Jakubowski is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Brescia University College. She presently teaches service-learning courses in the area of community development. Her current research is focused on service-learning and civic engagement, and the transformative potential of... Read More →

Martin McIntosh

Martin McIntosh is the Community Relations Coordinator at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection (RHAC) in London, Ontario. As its Mission Statement clearly outlines, RHAC is “a community-inspired organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for individuals and diverse communities... Read More →

Sarah Pol

Student, Western University

Thursday June 23, 2016 10:30 - 11:20 EDT
UCC 59