Service-Learning Judicial Sanctions: New Vehicles to Promote Student Development in Undergraduate Education

Kienle, Alyson Wynn , Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Gibbs, Annette, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Burbach, Harold, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Gansneder, Bruce, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Pusser, Brian, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

In recent decades, service-learning has emerged as a powerful teaching tool in academic settings within colleges and universities. The benefits of service-learning may be similarly abundant when this pedagogy is implemented as a judicial sanction. Judicial affairs professionals in a few colleges and universities have added service-learning judicial sanctions to the range of sanctions they assign to adjudicated students. However, neither the frequency of this practice, nor data concerning the effects of these sanctions, have been discussed in the literature.

The purpose of this study was to discover and describe the ways in which colleges and universities combine reflection-exercises Journals, papers, projects, or discussions, for example) with community service hours to create service-learning judicial sanctions. The study also assessed judicial affairs professionals' perceptions of the effectiveness of these sanctions in reducing recidivism and promoting student development. The association between the various ways of administering service-learning sanctions, and the effectiveness of those sanctions, was also studied. Data were gathered from professionals in the field of judicial affairs, who were members of the Association for Student Judicial Affairs (ASJA), using the Survey of Judicial Affairs Administrators (SJAA), which was designed by the researcher. All 1,200 members of the ASJA were invited to complete the online survey.

Participants were asked to report whether or not they assigned service-learning sanctions and the reasons for their decisions. Service-learning sanctions were assigned by 61.6% of the participants. The most common reasons for assigning these sanctions were to foster the following in college students: interpersonal growth, moral reasoning skills, and civic responsibility. Those who did not assign these sanctions cited various reasons for their decision including, time/resource demands and the absence of service learning sanctions in the range of available sanctions at their institution.

Data were collected to determine the most common, and most effective, ways of administering service-learning sanctions. Thirteen variables in the administration of service-learning sanctions were found to be associated with the effectiveness of those sanctions in promoting student development. Participants who included any of these 13 variables were more likely to believe that service-learning sanctions were effective. Of these 13 significant variables, six were learning goals, three were types of reflection exercises, two were types of service experiences, one was the type of violation resulting in the assignment of these sanctions, and one was related to whether or not judicial affairs professionals assigned service-learning sanctions to repeat offenders.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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