#CapturingCommunity Becca Berkey

Role within service-learning: Director of the Service-Learning Program
What is one thing everyone should know about service-learning?

Service-Learning is an experiential pedagogical approach that looks for meaningful partnership at the intersection of two questions: 1) What should the students learn through the experience(s)? and 2) What are the community’s goals? In this way, there is no ‘one size fits all’ service-learning, but it is customizable to finding the best ways to achieve answers to these questions that align with one another- be it through a course module, work with several partners, a semester-long project, or weekly volunteering, etc.

How are your values expressed through your community engagement and service-learning work?

I have a deeply held value in social justice, and through this work it is my hope that we work to not only to create an environment that fosters student learning and progress toward community goals, but one that will ultimately challenge unjust systemic and societal structures – whether that be here locally, or as our students and community members apply the lessons they’ve learned in different contexts to their work in this world. This can sometimes be difficult in a society where an expectation of instant gratification is ingrained, because this work is incremental, but I do (in connecting it with my values) believe it is vitally important.

If service-learning was a type of food what would it be?

It would be a pizza (with ethically sourced ingredients, of course!) because pizzas can be put together in any combination of toppings to accommodate multiple tastes and preferences, but ultimately no matter what the toppings end up being the result is synergistic and delicious. Service-Learning, in a similar way, takes into account the goals of both the community partners and the faculty (in planning for student learning), and so while every S-L experience looks different, the partnership alignment of course and community goals makes for a whole diversity of unique (but hopefully synergistic and pleasing) results for everyone!

1 thought on “#CapturingCommunity Becca Berkey”

  1. Becca well said and deeply emblematic of your impact on NU’s service-learning program and the implications from my research as well:) thank you for confirming that.


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