Engaged Scholar Speaker Series Logo

Forty Years in the Academy: Service-Learning's Pioneers, Programs, and Promise

Tuesday, April 1, 2008
2:30 - 4:30 p.m. | Room Big Ten C, Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center

Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement 40th Anniversary LogoThis session was part of the 40th anniversary celebration of Michigan State University's Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement's (CSLCE).


  • Dwight Giles picture
  • Dwight E. Giles, Jr.
  • Professor, Higher Education Administration
  • University of Massachusetts, Boston
  • Senior Associate, New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE)

Dwight Giles is a professor of higher education administration and senior associate at the New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE) in the Graduate College of Education, University of Massachusetts, Boston. He also serves as the director of the doctoral program in higher education administration. His interests include scholarship of engagement, community-campus partnerships, internships, and service-learning; much of his work focuses on linking service-learning practice with research and scholarship.

He has co-authored numerous books and articles on service-learning research, including "Where's the Learning in Service-Learning?" with Janet Eyler, and "Service-Learning: A Movement's Pioneers Reflect on its Origins, Practice, and Future" with Tim Stanton and Nadinne Cruz. Giles has recently co-authored a study of community-campus partnerships. He is member of the National Peer Review Board for the Scholarship of Engagement and of the working group for "Creating an Academic Home for the Next Generation of Engaged Scholars." With John Saltmarsh, he is conducting a study of reward structures for community engaged scholarship at Carnegie-designated community-engaged campuses.

Giles holds a Ph.D. in community development from the Pennsylvania State University. He is the co-recipient, with Janet Eyler, of Campus Compact's 2003 Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Service-Learning Award.


Dr. Dwight Giles, a leading expert on service-learning, will review service-learning's evolution from obscure pedagogical practice to institutional priority. Dr. Giles will reflect on the journey from the margins to the mainstream as service-learning has matured, both nationally and at MSU.

The history of service-learning over the past 40 years provides a richly woven tapestry with many strands including pedagogy, educational reform, community engagement and outreach, institutional transformation, and social concerns. While service-learning and, more recently, civic engagement have emerged as national and international phenomena, the true history of this movement is found in local programs on specific campuses.

As one of the oldest continuous service-learning programs in the country, the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement at Michigan State University is an instructive case study for understanding the broader landscape of university and community relationships and for mileposts for where this journey might go in the future.

Video of the Presentation