The Limits of Service-Learning in Higher Education

This article takes a critical look at the attempted institutionalization of service-learning in higher education. It asks whether service-learning can become deeply embedded within the academy; and if so, what exactly is becoming embedded. Specifically, this article suggests that there are substantial pedagogical, political, and institutional limits to service-learning across the academy. These limits, moreover, are shown to be inherent to the service-learning movement as contemporarily theorized and enacted. The article concludes by reframing some of the grounding assumptions of service-learning to position it as a disciplinary field more suited for becoming genuinely embedded within higher education.