Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

Orkideh Mohajeri, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James Tweedy, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Nicole Barkley, J.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline Hodes, Ed.D.


This thesis critiques traditional service-learning from a neoliberal perspective. More specifically, I address how whiteness and competitiveness insert themselves into traditional service-learning in colleges and universities revealing their connection to neoliberalism. This Critical Action Research thesis explores reaching Transformational Service through models and theories of moral reasoning, feminist ethics pedagogy, and critical consciousness. In this thesis I propose a Social Change and Awareness Pilot Program for fourth-year students, which will impel them to understand and target their passions of social justice and dispel toxic traditional-service-learning ideologies. Solid leadership of this program would involve long-term collaboration and effective communication with communities, critical thinking, reflection, and moral reasoning. I propose an evaluation that focuses on pre-surveys, post-surveys, and narratives. This topic and intervention are significant because traditional service-learning has negatively warped volunteerism within the college environment by upholding whiteness, while imposing neoliberal values on students. Service remains a valuable arena for individual development during the undergraduate years, but it needs to be re-evaluated to match up with underlying structural social justice issues and to meet the needs of communities.