Transformational Effects of Service-Learning in a University Developed Community-Based Agency

Michael Nino, Mo Cuevas, Melody Loya


The purpose of this article is first, to provide a model for the development, and implementation of a university developed, community-based agency that incorporates service-learning projects infused throughout the social work curriculum. The inspiration for the community-based agency was grounded in Mezirow’s (1978) theory of transformational learning and designed to provide social services to underserved populations and a training ground for future social workers. Second, we examine the transformational effects of students engaged in a competency-based, service-learning course at the agency, Methods of Social Work Practice. Using Clark’s (1991) adaptation of Mezirow’s theory of transformation, results indicate students experienced three dimensions (psychological, convictional, and behavioral) of transformational learning while engaged in the course and provide evidence that service-learning is directly related to the developmental process of social work students.


Service-learning, transformational learning, social work education, competency-based course curriculum

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Copyright (c) 2011 Michael Nino, Mo Cuevas, Melody Loya


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