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Reflective Essays

Vol. 27 No. 1

Sense(making) & Sensibility: Reflections on an Interpretivist Inquiry of Critical Service Learning

August 24, 2021


Critical service learning, as outlined by Mitchell (2008), highlights the importance of shifting from the charity- and project-based model to a social-change model of service learning. Her call for greater attention to social change, redistribution of power, the development of authentic relationships, and, more recently with Latta (2020), futurity as the central strategies to enacting “community-based pedagogy” has received significant attention. However, little research has occurred on how to measure the effectiveness of these components. This reflective article expands upon and calls into question the ways in which critical service learning can be assessed. Utilizing focus groups, we ask the following questions: How do engaged scholar–practitioners operationalize Mitchell’s (2008) three tenets of critical service learning? What are ways to measure the outcomes and impacts of Mitchell’s three tenets of critical service learning?