GSE Publications

Pursuing Franklin's Dream: Philosophical and Historical Roots of Service-Learning

Ira Harkavy, University of Pennsylvania
Matthew Hartley, Graduate School of Education

Document Type Journal Article


Two decades ago service-learning as an inno- vation lingered on the periphery of the academy. Today, service-learning has spread across American higher edu- cation. Few educational innovations have achieved such relatively rapid success. This article describes the historical and philosophical underpinnings of service-learning. It notes some of the significant debates that have occurred among its practitioners. The authors draw from experience at their university, the University of Pennsylvania, to describe the importance of connecting service-learning to the core educational and civic missions of a college or university, as well as to provide a case study of how that connection might be made.


Date Posted: 25 May 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.