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THE INSTITUTIONALISATION OF SERVICE LEARNING AT THE UNIVERSITY: THE CASE OF THE REY JUAN CARLOS UNIVERSITY (SPAIN)

A. Iglesias , R. Samino García

University Rey Juan Carlos (SPAIN)
Background:
Service learning is a methodology that combines academic learning with the provision of a meaningful service to the community that enriches the learning experience while strengthening students' civic responsibility. Aware of its importance, some universities have set up units for the promotion and implementation of this teaching methodology.

Aims:
The aim of this paper is to analyze the process of institutionalization of service learning at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Spain) through the implementation of a specific unit responsible for its promotion and consolidation.

Methodology:
Case study using qualitative techniques including semi-structured interviews with the actors involved in the implementation of the project.

Results and implications for practice:
The results show that leadership and inter-administrative collaboration play a key role in the implementation of an internal unit for the development of a service-learning project. The development of internal regulations in the form of by-laws is also a guarantee of success in completing and reinforcing the institutionalization process. We will also present an initial evaluation of the program’s results which provide evidence that may be useful for the design and implementation of units for the promotion of service-learning in the university so that it has a positive effect on the integral formation of students as empathetic citizens with the most disadvantaged groups in society.