Linking Theory to Praxis through Diversity Research and Service Learning: A Practical Model for Small Undergraduate Communication Programs
Practicing diversity in a Historically Black University is not a simple affirmation. It is an action, that is, something that one does with students, and something that the students do with each other and the surrounding communities. It is a way of life. It is a work ethic. This paper documents a historically and culturally situated academic program development aimed at addressing social justice issues through undergraduate research and service learning. In particular, this paper examines the evolution of an undergraduate research and service learning agenda in the Speech Communication and Mass Communication programs at Xavier University of Louisiana, by profiling the institution’s history and identity as an HBCU, and examining the faculty and institutional response to the growing need for undergraduate research and service learning as learning tools. It also proposes a practical model for implementing undergraduate research and service learning into a departmental culture that teaches communication to change the human condition and promotes the University's mission to create a more just and humane society.
Keywords: Small Undergraduate Communication Programs, Practical Model, Program Development, Undergraduate Research, Service Learning
Dr. Dominique Gendrin
Associate Professor and Department Chair, Department of Communications, Xavier University of Louisiana