First Encounters, Service Experience, Parting Impressions: Examining the Dynamics of Service-Learning Relationships

Stephanie Smith Budhai, Kristine S. Lewis Grant


Through a collected case study, this research study examines the relationships between college students and community partners in three separate service-learning projects. Although all of the service-learning relationships can be characterized as transactional, the reciprocity within each relationship manifests in different ways based on the presence and complexity of Mills’ (2012) “four furies.” Findings from this study can inform and help to redeem university– community partnerships operating under less than ideal conditions (e.g., limited service-learning hours, unorganized service-learning projects). The study suggests that transactional service-learning relationships have merit and can serve as a positive introduction to service-learning for both college students and community partners. 


service-learning; community partnerships; civic engagement

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