Motivations for service-learning among family and consumer sciences college faculty: influence of teaching perceptions, efficacy, and practice

Banerjee, Madhumita
Major Professor
Cheryl O. Hausafus
Committee Member
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Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies

Trying to understand connections between Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) and service-learning could improve the implementation process of this pedagogy in FCS courses. According to Giles and Eyler (1998), identifying ways by which service-learning can enhance subject matter learning is the first of their top ten unanswered questions in service-learning research. The primary objective of this study was to examine characteristics of FCS collegiate faculty who do and do not incorporate service-learning in their teaching, determine their teaching efficacy levels and dominant teaching perspectives, examine their perceptions about service-learning as an effective teaching strategy within FCS, and identify the factors that motivate and deter FCS faculty's use of service-learning.;Survey results from 375 FCS faculty members in institutions of higher education across the United States confirm the belief that service-learning can be an effective tool for learning and teaching within FCS. Almost 60% of the FCS faculty reported to have implemented service learning in their teaching. Both service-learning and non service-learning faculty, in general, had high teaching efficacy levels. The dominant teaching practice for all faculty was Reflective-Ethical, irrespective of whether they were service-learning or non service-learning faculty.;Service-learning faculty received encouragement from department chairpersons and other colleagues in the department. Advice from colleagues and attendance at professional organizations and conferences provided faculty with useful instructional support. Student outcomes motivated faculty most in their decisions to incorporate service-learning. Concerns related to time, logistics, and funding; reward structure; and inability to use service-learning effectively were reported to be potential factors that might cause faculty to discontinue their service-learning efforts. For non service-learning faculty, issues related to time, logistics, and funding; and curricular and pedagogical concerns, were the greatest deterrents to using service-learning.