Service Learning

and other Volunteer Work related to
Economic & Business Geography


Economic Geography: Service Learning Profile

Geography 207
Introduction to Economic Geography
Instructor: Gunter Krumme
Winter Quarter 2001
5 Credits + 1or2 credits (Geography 499) Service Learning

Geography 207 introduces students to the spatial organization of economic activities and to processes of change in economic activity patterns. This involves both, gaining an understanding of the spatial structure of the growth of the economy and its component parts, as well as of geographic facets of economic decline, plant closure, job loss, unemployment, inequality, poverty, and homelessness. During this quarter, the class will focus on corporate and organizational facets of growth and decline which includes an understanding of the role of business, non-profit and governmental organizations.

Another and related theme which will accompany the class throughout the quarter will be the "economic geography of communications technology" which we will use to study a large number of topics and issues ranging from the regional growth implications of high technology industries, to the rapid changes in the nature of jobs and employment, and to the now widely discussed "Digital Divide".

Given these class perspectives, there are two interdependent dimensions which can tie Service-Learning activities to Geography 207:

  1. activities which are associated with attempts to overcome the Digital Divide and its economic implications; and
  2. activities of non-profit organizations which perform such vital socio-economic roles in a society which relies heavily on resource allocation mechanism associated with relatively free markets and large, profit-maximizing business corporations heavily dependent on financial markets.

Service-Learning and Geography 207: Past & Presence
Geography 207 students have, for a long time, linked the learning environment of the 207 classroom to internships in the private and public sectors. Since 1996, many 207- students have also signed up for Service Learning as a component of Geography 207. After having found an appropriate community-based organization whose work relates thematically to course objectives, these students have not only benefitted from class activities, they also have a build-in site and context for testing and applying classroom knowledge. This is an excellent "opportunity to combine theory and practice, to use what you learn, and to learn while you are making a difference in many people's lives." (Carlson Center NEWS, November 1993)

You can receive 1 or 2 extra credits for your service learning experience and an associated report or journal (Sign up for Geography 499 after having talked to me). If you are interested or want to learn more about this opportunity, come and talk to me during the first or early second week and/or contact the Carlson Office directly.

Supporting and Related Pages:

Service Learning is an instructional method in which students learn through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that
  • is conducted in and meets the needs of a community;
  • is coordinated with a school or community service program and with the community;
  • is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum;
  • includes structured time for students to reflect on their service experience; and
  • helps foster civic responsibility.

This (Colorado) Service-Learning site provides another definition of service-learning, a Directory of Service-Learning Programs by State and a variety of other related information.

Service-learning is a method through which citizenship, academic subjects, skills, and values are taught. It involves active learning--drawing lessons from the experience of performing service work. Though service-learning is most often discussed in the context of elementary and secondary or higher education, it is a useful strategy as well for programs not based in schools.

At the University of Washington, students have the opportunity to engage in service learning as part of many courses in a variety of disciplines. In most cases, service learning is one of several pathways through a course among which students can choose to accomplish course learning goals. Students who choose to do service learning select one of several possible community groups with which to volunteer. These groups are selected based on their thematic fir with the course's content and goals.

"ABOUT THE SERVICE LEARNING PROGRAM*: The Service Learning Program at the Carlson Leadership and Public Service Center helps to arrange opportunities for students to work at local community agencies in conjunction with their academic coursework. The goal of the program is to offer students a way to engage with the community while exploring a variety of issues in class from a different vantage point. This experiential learning project helps instructors invigorate their classes, gives students different ways to learn, and involves both the instructor and the student in the life of the community surrounding them." (Carlson Leadership and Public Service Office; Undergraduate Gateway Center, 171 Mary Gates Hall; Email: - Phone: 206/543.2550)

Students who sign up for the service learning component of Geography 207 and have found an appropriate community-based organization whose work relates thematically to course objectives, not only benefit from the classroom and class-readings, they also have a build-in site and context for testing and applying classroom knowledge. This is an excellent "opportunity to combine theory and practice, to use what you learn, and to learn while you are making a difference in many people's lives." (Carlson Center NEWS, November 1993)

There are two "models" which can serve as a basis for a service_learning arrangement, namely:

  1. students have their own group project (as part of a "consulting group") and pursue this project in the context of their service-learning experience; or
  2. students accept a (207-suitable) agenda of the service-learning environment and then develop a project which complies with Geog.207 objectives, helps the service-learning agency and improves the students' understanding of the work and responsibilities of this agency. Within his/her student (consulting) group, the service-learning student is likely to represent the "third sector" or non-profit organizations.
In either case, the student will not receive academic credit for the volunteer work as such, but for the learning outcome as reflected by the project or other evidence.

Service-Learning Example 1: The Internet and Retired Faculty

One major focus which connects many service-learning experiences to Economic Geography is "access" which tends to be both a geographic and an economic issue. The Internet potentially improves access, particularly for those with mobility handicaps of various kinds. Older people are a prime example. Older faculty, I would hope, make a good test population AND, again I hope, are willing to give, not just eager to learn. The task of students might be to explore some of the many facets of "access handicaps", and how the Internet is beginning to help and thereby improve the quality (and reduce dependence) of mature age: access to family members, former colleagues & academic environments, health and travel information, online shopping for books, health items. In addition, retired faculty may find that publishing never-published materials or new research findings on the Web is more suitable and enjoyable for retired life than putting up with editors of conventional paper publications.

Other examples will follow...

If you are interested or want to learn more about this opportunity, come and talk to me (your 207 instructor) during the first or early second week and/or contact Joe Brown in the Carlson Office directly.

Students interested in making a service-leaning commitment in the context of Geography 207 should discuss their choice with Prof. Krumme before they sign up and should stay in contact throughout the quarter.

Other SL Pages, Statements and Messages:

Virtual Volunteering:

Other Resources:


Closeup Foundation: Service Learning Quarterly [Online Resource for Educators]

Intergenerational Service-Learning Projects (Literature)

Intergenerational Service Topic Bibliography [National Service-Learning Cooperative Clearinghouse An Adjunct ERIC Clearinghouse on Service-Learning By Robin Vue-Benson, Robert Shumer, PhD, February 1995, Revised By Madeleine S. Hengel, PhD Candidate, Craig Hollander, Updated August 1997

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly [Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA)]

Bobo, K., J. Kendall, and S. Max. 1991. Organizing for Social Change: A Manual for Activists in the 1990s. Seven Locks Press, Washington, D.C.

Charlesworth, J. et al., "Managing Local Mixed Economies of Care," Environment & Planning A 1995, vol.27, pp.1419-35.

Kupiek, T.Y., ed., Rethinking Tradition: Integrating Service with Academic Study on College Campuses. Denver: Campus Compact, Education Commission of the States, 1993.

Loeb, Paul Rogat. Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time. N.Y.: St.Martin's Griffin, 1999.

Markus, G.B.; J.P.F.Howard & D.C.King, "Integrating Community Service and Classroom instruction enhances Learning: Results from an Experiment. in: Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. 15 (1993), 410-9.

Putnam, Robert and other "Social Capital" Resources

Renz, Loren et al., Foundation Giving: Yearbook of Facts and Figures on Private, Corporate, and Community Foundations. N.Y.: Foundation Center, 1995. ($US 24.95) [Abstract in JEL June 1996, p.886]

Rifkin, Jeremy. The End of Work: The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era. Putnam Paperback N.Y., 1995 [Pb $15.95]

Rose-Ackerman, Susan, "Altruism, Nonprofits, and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, 34(2), June 1996, pp.701-728. [Bibliography!]

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