Service-Learning and Social Entrepreneurship in Higher Education
Professor Sandra Enos’s recent book “Service-Learning and Social Entrepreneurship in Higher Education: A Pedagogy of Social Change” looks at how ten leading universities are using service-learning and social entrepreneurship to enhance student learning and advance social impact in communities, local and global.
The book addresses the bigger questions: if you want to create students that are actually engaged with their community and the globe, how would you do that? What level of involvement should the university have? We should think about what students need to be active global citizens in the world. Under that theme, what would students need to know?
Dr. Enos’s book says it’s not just that students have to know how to be good volunteers. It isn’t just that they know how to create brand new organizations, but rather they should know about social movements and community organizing. Students should know how to evaluate the impact of programs, about philanthropy, conscious consumption, and how to be good researchers. They need those skills that bring important issues to the fore and raise public consciousness.
Her conclusion is that the whole university should be on board with the 21st century global relationship, including all departments. Literary and Cultural Studies has a role with understanding the importance of story-telling and rhetoric. Political Science has to be involved to understand the government and how to influence it. Anthropology has to be involved since we don’t want students going out and creating brand new organizations without an appreciation of culture and social organization. The book proposes a broad view and encompassing understanding of citizenship in the twenty-first century
Global Studies is important since we can all benefit from having our viewpoint expanded. Our community seems to have a focus on American culture. A broader viewpoint helps students understand other cultures and deepen our understanding of our own cultures as well. You are able to understand cultures in appropriate context. It is helpful for students to get away from their taken-for-granted perspective. It is a necessity to be a global citizen and acknowledge that the world it isn’t just us; we have relationships with other nations, we are dependent on them and they are dependent on us.
Dr. Enos is exploring the ideas of the philosopher, Levinas, who believes that, “we are both host to and hostage to the world.” As global citizens, we have an obligation to welcome other people into our communities as hosts, and to extend ourselves because we are members of a larger human community. We’re also hostages to others because we are reliant on them for our life and because there is no one on this planet that can exist without the cooperation of other people. This includes the United States as well as other countries. We are not just independent but incredibly interdependent, with obligations to welcome and with the need, as well to expect that others will welcome us.