Examination of the Impact of Religion on College Service-Learning Programs

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Sun, 06/01/1997

Stephen Trainor examined the connections between religion, higher education, and service-learning (learning involving student volunteer service) programs at church-related colleges. Trainor looked specifically at the impact of service-learning on the religious missions of these schools. The research addressed three major areas of concern: (1) the ways in which institutions of higher learning define, understand and implement service learning programs; (2) whether institutions regard service learning as a primary or secondary vehicle for fulfilling their school's religious mission; and (3) the ways in which service learning influences students’ academic, religious, social and personal development.
<p>Students and faculty were surveyed at twenty church-related colleges that offer service learning courses. Trainor and his colleagues also conducted extensive case studies at five small but diverse church-related colleges: (1) Dordt College in Iowa, (2) Rivier College in New Hampshire, (3) Saint Mary’s of the Woods in Indiana, (4) St. Paul’s College in Virginia, and (5) University of the Incarnate Word in Texas. (KH, LT)