Learning interdisciplinarity: Service learning and the promise of interdisciplinary teaching

Daisy Rooks, Celia Winkler

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The authors explore the challenges inherent in traversing the multiple boundaries between sociology and social work, and the academy and the community, by examining a service learning course on hunger and homelessness taught by two sociology professors and two social workers on the staff of a community service organization. The authors draw on instructional team meetings and correspondence, observation of class sessions, and formal and informal course evaluations to analyze three "moments": the planning process, a pivotal class session, and students' final presentations. They found that both their teaching and students' learning were enriched by disciplinary differences in knowledge claims, the design and utility of qualitative research, and the process of drawing conclusions from, and making arguments using, qualitative data. The authors conclude that experiential learning has value beyond providing students hands-on experiences. It can also provide a laboratory in which students and instructors can explore the similarities and differences between sociology, social work, and other disciplines.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2-20
    Number of pages19
    JournalTeaching Sociology
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 2012


    • collaborative research
    • community-based learning
    • interdisciplinary courses
    • service learning
    • social problems


    Dive into the research topics of 'Learning interdisciplinarity: Service learning and the promise of interdisciplinary teaching'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this