HOW SERVICE-LEARNING ENHANCES ACTIVE AND COLLABORATIVE LEARNING WHILE PROVIDING A FOUNDATION FOR LIFE-LONG LEARNING. TWO CASE STUDIES FROM A LIBERAL ARTS UNIVERSITY IN AN INTERNATIONAL CITY
Service-learning as a pedagogical tool is now in widespread use not only in the United States but around the world. At the University of St. Thomas, a Catholic comprehensive liberal arts institution in Houston, Texas USA, the concept of service-learning has taken hold over the last decade focusing with equal emphasis on local and global projects. First, the paper gives a brief overview of the UST's service-learning program, its philosophy, goals and pedagogical objectives. Then, the paper offers a detailed account of two active experiential learning projects: A micro-credit project in Lilongwe, Malawi, as part of the University's Social Entrepreneurship Program; and the School of Education's Lemonade Day program, a project at a local Houston elementary school. Addressing the focus of the conference, emphasis will be placed on life-long learning, collaborative learning and the central place these two factors have in the foundation of an undergraduate education at a liberal arts institution of higher education. The paper will highlight as well the main obstacles and challenges UST programs have faced as an attempt to help other institutions of higher education implement service-learning programs all around the world.