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U of U to Host International Service-Learning Conference this Week

November 4, 2003 — The University of Utah, the U’s Lowell Bennion Community Service Center and RMC Research Corporation will host the Third Annual International Conference in Advances in Service-Learning Research this Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 6th through 8th, at the Sheraton City Center, 150 W. 500 S., in downtown Salt Lake City. Participants may register onsite throughout the conference. For more information, call 801-581-4811 or go to

The conference, which is expected to attract 300 participants, will offer more than 90 sessions and presentations and keynote addresses by leading service-learning researchers, including Ira Harkavy, one of the foremost authorities on the subject. David W. Pershing, University senior vice president for Academic Affairs, will give the conference’s opening address.

Last year the listing of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Utah sixth in the country for service-learning programs.

This year’s conference will convene international scholars and practitioners who are actively engaged in service-learning research to present new study findings, methodological and theoretical advances and recently completed research agendas for the study of service-learning in K-12, teacher education and higher education. The conference will also provide opportunities to explore numerous service-learning research issues from a variety of perspectives, including the presentation of service-learning research from various countries around the world. Conference organizers hope to build a worldwide community of service-learning researchers to share research findings, build networks and partnerships and identify new directions for service-learning research.

In addition, the conference will feature, among others, presentations on findings from new service-learning studies; interactive topical forums that engage participants in in-depth discussions on a variety of issues regarding service-learning research; a graduate student forum where doctoral candidates will present their work for peer analysis; resource sharing of materials, research papers and reports; special business meetings of national and regional service-learning groups; and group and self-guided tours of the University of Utah, host of the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games and home of the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center.

Bennion Center Director Marshall Welch, coordinator and host of the conference notes, “Conference attendees understand teaching service-learning in academic settings is critical. Service-learning classes and projects give students opportunities to make a difference in the world by becoming civically engaged citizens and future leaders in a just and caring democracy.”

Since its founding in 1987, the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center has been providing service opportunities to the students, faculty, staff and alumni of the University of Utah. The Bennion Center fosters lifelong service and civic participation by engaging the University with the greater community in action, change and learning. More than 5,000 people donate more than 100,000 hours annually to a variety of projects.