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Enhancing Leadership Skills Through Service Learning

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Experiential and Service Learning

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.546.1 - 13.546.6



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Paper Authors

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James Ejiwale Jackson State University

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Della Posey Jackson State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Enhancing Leadership Skills Through Service Learning


Service learning has been adopted in the Department of Technology to help prepare and put the graduates of the Industrial Technology (IT) program at the forefront of employment in the new industrial revolution. It is therefore essential that the IT majors should participate in service learning so as to improve their leadership skills. This paper addresses the enhancement of leadership skills through the integration of service learning and learning communities as informal groups, and some of their potential benefits.


The Department of Technology has adopted service learning to help prepare students in the program with the ‘know-how’ of effective performance as leaders in the organization they work for. The integration of the learning communities during students’ engagement in service learning will help students acquire and improve on necessary leadership skills required of them upon graduation and employment in the future. It is important that the IT majors should participate in service learning to garner the effective feedback on the participant’s level of leadership skills as observed by the learning communities involved. It therefore behooves educators to understand the importance, management and the potential benefits of this framework. In addition, a sense of collaboration between the educators and the organization where the service is to be rendered is required to enable the success of this frame work.

What is service learning (SL)?

McPherson7 (2005) asserted that “Service learning is a method of teaching through which students apply their academic skills and knowledge to address real-life needs in their own communities.” Bradford² (2005) defined service learning as an educational method by which participants learn and develop through active participation in service that is conducted in and meets the needs of a community. Eyler & Giles4 (1999) highlighted the importance of service learning as “a form of experiential education where learning occurs through a cycle of action and reflection as students work with others through a process of applying what they are learning to community problems, and at the same time, reflecting upon their experience as they seek to achieve real objectives for the community and deeper understanding and skills for themselves.” It is essential therefore to provide a structured environment in which participants will be able to discover their own styles of leadership, what works for them, new approaches to explore through constructive criticism from the learning communities that includes faculty, students (peer groups), and the community they serve.

Service learning at Jackson State University

The mission of the Department of Technology is to provide a nationally accredited program, which serves the technical, managerial, and communication needs of persons desiring to enter or advance professionally in an industrial technology related career. The Division of Student Life at

Ejiwale, J., & Posey, D. (2008, June), Enhancing Leadership Skills Through Service Learning Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4329

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