Engaging Community Organizations in the Design, Implementation, and Assessment of The University of Alberta Residence Services' Alternative Reading Week Community Service-Learning Program

  • Author / Creator
    Peterson, Caitlin
  • This research explores the role community organizations can have in the design, implementation, and assessment of the University of Alberta’s Alternative Reading Week community service-learning program to align the program with a more justice-based approach to service-learning. Specifically, this research aims to identify potential strategies that staff of University of Alberta Residence Services can utilize to highlight community organization voice in all stages of the program. The research question was “What are community organization’s perspectives on how the University of Alberta Residence Services staff can best engage them in the design, implementation, and assessment of the Alternative Reading Week program?” It was explored by surveying and interviewing five representatives from community organizations who have hosted service placements and educational workshops during Alternative Reading Week programming within the past three years (November 2019 - November 2021). A secondary data analysis of program learning outcomes, schedules, and assessment questions was also conducted. Research findings identified key areas where community organizations could be more involved in the design of the Alternative Reading Week program, including early discussions on organizational and institutional learning outcomes, preparing student participants for community organizational involvement, and communication during the planning phase of the program. Findings also highlighted that community organizations perceived their engagement with Alternative Reading Week primarily in the implementation phase of the program and as being the primary facilitators of this portion of the program. Further, organization representatives interviewed suggested an openness for community organizations to be more involved in the assessment of the Alternative Reading Week program through debriefing or contributing to program assessment questions. Particularly, how the individual context of each institutional-community partnership can influence what the engagement of a community organization in Alternative Reading Week entails. Recommendations are included on how Residence Services staff could best engage community organizations in future service-learning programs, highlighting a need for engagement to be facilitated on a case by case basis that was sensitive to each community organization’s needs, objectives, and relationship to the institution. Finally, although the research findings identify potential areas as to where community organizations could be more engaged in the Alternative Reading Week program, the specific strategies and methods of engaging community organizations requires additional research.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2023
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.