service learning, leadership, high impact practices


First year learning community (LC) freshmen entering as education majors participated in year-long activities related to service learning and leadership development. Activities included fall cohort classes with shared content, a common read, and a spring seminar that included leadership learning, fund raising, and a short-term service project in an alternative school setting. Students were compared with other LC freshman not engaged in the project, non-education LC students, and those not in learning communities across measures of attitudes toward volunteerism and diverse groups, grades, and rates of volunteering. Additional qualitative data were collected in regard to self-reflection of those involved in the service-learning project. Survey results were inconclusive, though GPA and volunteer involvement data were positive for students who participated. These findings are discussed in light of current best practice regarding high impact practices and Liberal Education America’s Promise and support the continued use of first year service learning and leadership activities.