The Institutionalization of Service-Learning at Spanish Universities

Service-learning is conceived of as an active pedagogical approach that integrates community services into learning processes. Although this practice has a long history in the Americas, it is still emerging in some European countries. Since the Bologna Process, Spanish universities have faced challenges associated with introducing learner-centered pedagogies and fostering students’ social responsibility. However, service-learning fuses these two lines of intervention. This article aims to provide data about the degree to which service-learning has been established and institutionalized at Spanish universities. To obtain these data, an electronic questionnaire based on a self-assessment rubric for the institutionalization of service-learning in higher education was sent to selected informants at Spanish universities. The results showed that most Spanish universities are at a very early stage in the institutionalization of service-learning; in fact, only a few appear to have mechanisms in place to achieve such institutionalization. The authors reflect on the need to support this emerging pedagogical practice to improve the quality of education and community engagement in the context of Spanish higher education ​
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