Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, PhD

Committee Chair

Brydon-Miller, Mary

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Pifer, Meghan

Committee Member

Pifer, Meghan

Committee Member

Immekus, Jason

Committee Member

Avineri, Netta

Author's Keywords

International service-learning; action research; campus-community partnerships; participatory evaluation; service-learning; Peru


The purpose of this study is to capture and share community resident perspectives on international service-learning (ISL). Community resident voice is largely underrepresented in ISL scholarship and practice. Conversely, research on student outcomes is ubiquitous, which generally makes student benefit a predominant consideration in ISL program design. Consequently, scholars have criticized ISL programs for being inherently extractive and even an embodiment of modern-day colonialism. This study aims to address this critique by offering a robust representation of community residents’ perspectives for how to responsibly design ISL programs. This study used action research methodology to capture community resident voices who participate in ISL. Specifically, I used Cousins and Chouinard’s (2012) participatory evaluation method to evaluate ISLP Perú, an ISL partnership between the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development, the Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville, and Sacllo, an Andean community in Perú’s Sacred Valley. The research questions guiding the study were 1) how do Sacllo residents perceive and experience international service learning, and 2) according to Sacllo residents, what are ISLP Perú’s greatest strengths and weaknesses? In alignment with the participatory evaluation framework’s emergent nature, program stakeholders played a key role in contributing to and framing the line of inquiry. In the end, data collection involved a mix of semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and a series of participatory activities to systematize the ISLP Perú experience. This study’s primary deliverable is the International Service-Learning Framework for Faculty (ISLFF), a guide developed out of this research to help faculty navigate the process of partnering with community residents in ISL. Specifically, the ISLFF includes a series of actionable processes, prompts, and questions to help create communication channels, identify local challenges, co-create program deliverables, assess and access resources, and incorporate interculture exchange into ISL program planning. Indeed, various scholars have contributed frameworks, guides, curricula, and checklists to help guide faculty through the multi-layered web of service-learning and campus-community partnerships, however the ISLFF is the first framework to fully represent the community’s perspective. Primary implications for future research involve emphasizing the natural confluence of action research methodology in ISL, as well as reconsidering the value of a transactional approach to ISL. The impact this study can have on the field includes increasing levels of mutual benefit in ISL programs, creating fair and just campus-community partnerships, and offering an innovative approach towards engaged scholarship in the international realm.