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The Center for theAdvancement of Teaching & Learning

Book Club


The CATL Book Club is offered every semester to promote professional development, discussion and reflection while learning more about learning, teaching and educational issues. We choose books with a variety of related topics including innovative teaching techniques, learning processes and changes in higher education. Discussions take place every semester and are lively and thought provoking.

If you're interested in taking part in our next Book Club, you can email the CATL or watch your email for our announcement. Also if you have a book you'd like us to consider as a future reading, please email us.

Below, you can find our most recent book selection and a link to our previous Book Club titles, all of which are available for loan from the CATL Library.

Spring 2016

Democratic Dilemmas of Teaching Service Learning

By Christine M. Cress, David M. Donahue, & Thomas Erlich

Democratic Dilemmas of Teaching Service-Learning

This book addresses the teaching dilemmas that instructors and students encounter in service-learning courses. Recognizing that teaching, in general, and service-learning, in particular, are inherently political, this book faces up to the resulting predicaments that inevitably arise in the classroom. By framing them as a vital and productive part of the process of teaching and learning for political engagement, this book offers the reader new ways to think about and address seemingly intractable ideological issues.

Faculty encounter many challenges when teaching service learning courses. These may arise from students’ resistance to the idea of serving; their lack of responsibility, wasting clients’ and community agencies’ time and money; the misalignment of community partner expectations with academic goals; or faculty uncertainty about when to guide students’ experiences and when direct intervention is necessary.

In over twenty chapters of case studies, faculty scholars from disciplines as varied as computer science, engineering, English, history, and sociology take readers on their and their students’ intellectual journeys, sharing their messy, unpredictable and often inspiring accounts of democratic tensions and trials inherent in teaching service-learning. Using real incidents – and describing the resources and classroom activities they employ – they explore the democratic intersections of various political beliefs along with race/ethnicity, class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and other lived differences and likenesses that students and faculty experience in their service-learning classroom and extended community. They share their struggles of how to communicate and interact across the divide of viewpoints and experiences within an egalitarian and inclusive environment all the while managing interpersonal tensions and conflicts among diverse people in complex, value-laden situations.

The experienced contributors to this book offer pedagogical strategies for constructing service-learning courses, and non-prescriptive approaches to dilemmas for which there can be no definitive solutions.

To register for the Spring 2016 bookclub, please email for more details.

Previous Book Club Choices

Full archive

Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student What the Best Students Do Now You See It The Shallows Healing the Heart of Democracy Willpower Collaborative Learning Techniques The Heart of Higher Education Student Engagement Techniques The Art of Changing the Brain Classroom Research Clueless in Academe