S-L Student & Faculty Reflections

#CapturingCommunity: Madhavi Venkatesan

Dr Madhavi Venketesan

Name: Madhavi Venkatesan
Role within Service-Learning: 2018-2019 Service-Learning Fellow and S-L Faculty Member

College: College of Social Sciences and Humanities
Department: Economics

How are your values expressed through your community engagement and Service-Learning work?
Service-Learning (S-L) provides a tangible learning opportunity to students that classroom instruction alone cannot provide. Through a curriculum integrated S-L project, students can gain an appreciation of the difficulty involved in conducting original research and realize the limitations including bias that can be present in data assembly. This is important to both the promotion of understanding of the limitations of empirical research and critical thinking with respect to available secondary research.

What is one thing everyone should know about Service-Learning?
Each S-L partnership is unique and no specific outcome can be expected. As a result, routine communication with students and the S-L partner are needed to ensure that the S-L opportunity meets the original intent of the instructor and S-L partner.

Did you find Service-Learning or did Service-Learning find you?
Economics is an active discipline; it is embedded in nearly every activity we are engage in. However, the majority of Economics instruction is limited due to the level of tangible engagement. Classroom hours rather than project driven work involving “real” world opportunities comprise the teacher to student relationship. I sought out S-L because I wanted an opportunity to make Economics tangible to my students by providing an application of the classroom curriculum to a situation where student involvement could be beneficial for both student learning and a S-L partner, through provision of service resources.

If Service-Learning were a food, what would it be and why?
S-L is like paella. It offers the opportunity to add a mix of ingredients, can be adjusted to meet the tastes of the participants and is guaranteed to be fulfilling.

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