Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Jennifer L Bloom

Second Advisor

Christian Anderson


The pedagogy known as service learning has become increasingly popular within the higher education community, including the community college sector. Grounded in experiential learning principles espoused by the philosopher John Dewey and later David Kolb and others, the practice of service learning is facilitated through partnerships developed and maintained by, and between, institutions and community organizations. The premise is that, theoretically, the partnership is mutually beneficial and that value is added at the macro or structural level for the community organization. However, a review of the literature shows a significant gap when it comes to the perspectives of the community organizations relative to the service learning partnership. This qualitative study was conducted to add, in a small but significant way, to the literature.

This research was conducted using an instrumental, single case-study design focusing on 10 diverse community organizations that were involved with Middlesex Community College for at least three years. Using a three-stage, semi-structured interview process, the 10 partners were afforded the opportunity to reflect on their partnerships and to give a collective voice regarding how they perceived the benefits and the costs to their organizations. Several themes and sub-themes emerged and recommendations were provided as a result of these findings. Finally, recommendations for future research were proposed.