University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

Research Council


Sarah Himmelheber

Fall 2013

"Building Understanding of Charitable and Change Paradigms in Service-Learning"

Grant in Aid of Research

Final Report: "This funding was utilized for travel to the Baccalaureate Program Directors (BPD) Annual Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. At this conference, I presented research related to my Teaching Scholars/ Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) project. The following paragraphs contain the presentation abstract as well as an excerpt for the larger proposal. Abstract: Social work education has increasingly embraced service learning. Greater understanding is needed regarding service-learning’s impact on students’ conceptions of professional values. This presentation discusses a social work course where students partnered with either charitable- or change-oriented services. Journals were analyzed for ways these experiences shaped service and social justice conceptualizations. Proposal Excerpt: This presentation aims to augment understanding around how service, and the particular type of service, contributes to students’ understandings of the professional values of service and social justice. Specifically, the experiences of students in the undergraduate social work course, Understanding Diversity, Challenging Oppression: A Service-Learning Course for Helping Professionals, will be analyzed. During this course, students volunteered with the Oneida Community Integrated Food System. Depending on their initial interests, they were placed in one of two service groups: Food Distribution or Tsyunhehkwa (an Oneida word, translating as life sustenance). Through these experiences, students were exposed to contrasting interventions in the food system. The Food Distribution group connected most closely with the charitable paradigm, as this is a traditional government commodity program with a mission of providing food to meet community members’ immediate needs. In contrast, students in the Tsyunhehkwa group worked with a program whose mission of community education and modeling self-reliant and traditional Oneida food practices aligns with the change paradigm."