Date of Award

Spring 3-29-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Marilou Ryder

Second Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Lee

Third Advisor

Dr. Angela Tos


Higher education has been increasing its focus on service as a way to make connections. One effective model for integrating the community in an educationally meaningful way is service learning. Service learning creates a practical experience where students learn and problem solve in the context of their lives and communities. However, not all faculty are buying into the benefits of incorporating service learning in the curriculum as it is both time and energy intensive. If service learning is to be implemented and sustained as part of the curriculum, faculty must be dedicated to its success.

The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore factors that motivate faculty to integrate service learning in their curriculum in private, higher education institutions in Southern California. As a product of this qualitative study, it is the hope that this research provides increased evidence in establishing faculty interest and participation in service learning. As faculty become familiar in this type of pedagogy, service learning pedagogy may shift from marginal participation to becoming institutionalized.

The data gathered from the interviews revealed factors that influenced their use of service learning. Findings suggest that participants believe that service learning is directly tied to the values they see in their fields as it directly relates to their personal values. Service learning allowed their students to discover who they are and look to the community to make change. By creating experiences that engaged the community, students were able to build stronger connections to the community and see their role within it. For many participants, it was that sense of awareness and citizenship, they gave them a renewed sense of purpose, and gave their work and efforts validation. For faculty to continue in this type of work, organizational support and recognition of value is needed. Findings suggest that, for service learning to take hold as an institutional priority, the goal needs to focus on establishing a university-wide policy that recognizes the value of service learning as both a pedagogical tool and an output of scholarly activity.