Community engaged scholarship and service learning pedagogy are increasing trends in higher education (Reardon, 1998; Fitzgerald et al., 2012; Campus Compact, 2013a; Fuller, 2013) and yield synergistic value to the three-pronged mission of higher education of teaching, service and research (Boyer, 1990; Furco, 2010; Stanton, 2012; Fitzgerald et al., 2012; CCEC, 2013). Engaged social science faculty offer meaningful contributions to the community and their work serves to enhance university-community partnerships (Stanton, 2007; Furco, 2010; Klein et al., 2012). Students participating in service learning in these fields can “acquire first-hand knowledge” as well as develop social science skills and perspectives through structured interaction with the community (NCSS, 2007, p. 1). While ample literature presents student outcomes in service learning, few studies specifically address student outcomes related to participation in community engaged research (Reardon, 1994; Schaffer and Peterson, 1998). This paper presents student outcomes and perceptions from a service learning project across two social science courses where undergraduate students participated in community engaged research. Our findings reveal that students across both courses effectively applied course themes to the service learning research project. The experience is of high value to students in both courses, the community, and faculty. Evidence presented here of students’ transformative experiences in service learning can inform future efforts in higher education to bridge faculty research with innovative pedagogy and meaningful community collaboration.

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