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Employing Service-Learning to Reinforce Effective Program Theory in the Arts

Kate Preston Keeney


Nonprofit arts organizations not only struggle to apply traditional program design and evaluation techniques to artistic outcomes but also have limited capacity in carrying out such practices that are essential to sound programs and organizational learning. This research positions graduate-level service-learning programs both as a solution for arts organizations with limited capacity in program design and as a robust pedagogical tool for students studying program theory in the nonprofit context. Framed by the complexities facing nonprofit arts organizations in employing traditional management techniques, I describe a graduate-level service-learning project that offers evidence of impact for increased organizational and student learning. Additionally, the research provides lessons learned for equivalent experiential learning settings, specifically in the nonprofit arts context.

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experiential learning; service-learning; program theory; nonprofit arts organizations

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