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Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Louise L. MacKay

Committee Members

Elizabeth Ralston, Russell F. West, Terrence A. Tollefson


The purpose of this study was to conduct a qualitative analysis of service learning. This analysis was performed to collect data on student perceptions of service learning and to understand the importance of service learning on community college students in their own words. Data were collected through interviews with 24 community college participants from Virginia Highlands Community College and Mountain Empire Community College, both in Southwest Virginia. I used a nonstandard interview because it is less abrupt, remote and arbitrary than the structured interview. I wanted to tap into the experiences of these students to learn what they thought, how they felt, and how service learning benefited or did not benefit them. Permission to conduct this study was granted by the Institutional Review Board. Personal contact was made with school officials. Interviews were conducted in phases depending upon the availability and convenience of the participant.

Findings showed that students involved in service learning experience many outcomes. These ranged from hands-on experience, social benefits, academic benefits especially in the area of accounting, civic responsibility, personal efficacy, civic mindedness and community building, developing a meaningful philosophy on life, appreciation for diversity, altruism and student autonomy. Findings did show that time and family or job responsibilities seemed to be the reason more students do not get involved. Students were concerned about the lack of enthusiasm from the instructors. They also said there would be more student participation if lab time, like a biology or science lab, were built into the service hours.

Document Type

Dissertation - restricted


Copyright by the authors.