Problem: Many universities offer service-learning classes that provide opportunities for students and community partners to work together on semester-long projects. Researchers have been especially interested in the benefits students receive in service-learning classes, and those benefits have been well recognized (Eyler, Giles, Stenson, & Gray, 2001). However, the benefits to community partners have been assumed but seldom explored empirically (Bringle & Steinberg, 2010; Cruz & Giles, 2000; Dorado & Giles, 2004). Research Questions: How beneficial were the service-learning projects to the community partners? What were the community partners’ experiences working with the students? Research Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive design was used to investigate the uses and benefits of 30 community partners from five different business-related, project-based, cooperative, service-learning university classes. Results: The results indicated that community partners used and benefited from working with students in such classes. More than 95% of the community partners implemented at least some of what the students created or recommended, and 39% of the community partners said that what the students provided was completely new information, insights, or strategies that they had not yet considered or done. Another key finding was that 80% of the community partners stated that the projects made a “pretty big” to an “extremely large” impact on their organization. These results suggest that working with the business-related, project-based, cooperative, service-learning university classes had an overall positive impact on the community partners.
Vizenor, Nancy; Souza, Tasha J.; and Ertmer, Joshua Jordan. (2017). "Benefits of Participating in Service-Learning, Business-related Classes: Assessing the Impact on the Community Partners". The Journal of Research in Business Education, -.