Community Service

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One way in which service learning can be incorporated into the curriculum of an economics course is through community service. Each student should be required to dedicate a specific number of hours to a community organization. While working at the organization, students should document their experiences in journals and from there be prepared to discuss their experiences in class. Through this method students will become more comfortable writing and discussing in economic terms.

In addition to this students are given the opportunity to see that economic issues within the community can not be described solely through quantitative terms. “Indeed, if they have the opportunity to interact with those they serve, they may also realize that many of the factors contributing to people’s predicaments are neither quantifiable in the neoclassical tradition nor consistent with the standard analysis presented in texts. (McGolderick, Ziegert, 2002)”

Example: Students who are interested in learning more concerning the issues of poverty would be assigned to a homeless shelter or food kitchen.

How to implement

1. Students are required to assist at a community organization. Students may be assigned to an organization by the instructor or the student may choose.

2. Students typically volunteer 10 to 30 hours to the specific organization and should document their experiences in a journal.

3. The experiences of the students can be integrated into the curriculum through class discussions, presentations, and/or a formal paper.

4. Generally, the service learning component consists of ten percent of the students' final grade.


McGoldrick, KimMarie, and Andrea L. Ziegert. Putting the Invisible Hand to Work: Concepts and Models for Service Learning in Economics. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan, 2002. Print.