The development of a strong community-university partnership is quintessential in generating “new knowledge for the academic field and transformative experiences for community members” (Anyon & Frnandez, 2008). During the last decade, The European Higher Education Area (EHEA) promotes the use of innovative teaching and learning methodologies in order to enhance students’ instrumental, interpersonal and systemic skills. Service-learning as an important pedagogical tool, enhances classroom knowledge through experiential learning in different real-life community settings (Puig, Martín, & Batlle, 2008). Service-learning programs have multiple benefits for all the actors involved (IARSLCE, 2014, RIDAS, 2015), but much attention has been given so far to the effectiveness of SL projects to community development. This study assesses the effectiveness of service-learning in higher education through the perceived satisfaction and learning outcomes of Advertising and Public Relations students. An online assessment questionnaire was administered to first year students (N=188) enrolled in one of Romania’s top Universities Social Psychology class that employed service-learning projects during the Covid-19 pandemic. We aimed to investigate the influence of a service-learning project by evaluating student’s positive and negative experiences in learning about oneself, about the community and teamwork and students’ understanding of course topics. Examples from the authors’ own course experiences organized during the COVID-19 pandemic and online teaching are also offered along with specific suggestions for motivating and preparing both students and faculty for integrating service-learning in other course curriculum. Implications for junior faculty members are being considered.
Lorina Culic is a researcher at Babes-Bolyai University, College of Political, Administrative and Communication. She received her doctorate in Sociology from Babes-Bolyai University. Her work focuses on the interdisciplinary approach between political communication and political and social psychology. For the past two years, she has been involved in facilitating the collaboration between universities, NGOs and the community through service-learning projects coordination.
Anisoara Pavelea is a lecturer of Social Psychology at Babes-Bolyai University, College of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences, Romania. and head of the University’s’ career center. She received her doctorate in Sociology from Babes-Bolyai University. Her research interests include. Her topics of interest include career guidance for PR specialists, social psychology, student motivation and learning, and service-learning methodology and practice.