Longitudinal studies spanning the last three decades have indicated that incoming college students have become increasingly concerned with individual gain, competition, and materialism. This, coupled with 1996's lowest voter turnout in 70 years and declining levels of participation in civic groups are indicators that citizens are relatively uninterested in, or lack the capacity to engage in activities that strengthen the democracy. To address this concern, faculty in social work education have been encouraged to reconsider traditional pedagogy and structure curricula so community service is combined with structured reflection; commonly known as service-learning. Undergraduate social work programs typically offer community service experiences and immerse students in experiential leaming opportunities through the practicum during the senior year. However, service-learning is being integrated into new and existing courses. allowing students direct exposure to diverse populations and practice opportunities much earlier in their education. The social work field has underscored the importance of building a strong democracy and an engaged citizenry to build stronger communities, and service-learning has been viewed as a potential venue.
Knee, Ryan Tolleson, "Service-Learning in Social Work Education: Building Democracy through Informed Citizenship" (1999). Thesis, Dissertations, Student Creative Activity, and Scholarship. 2.
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