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Like many librarians who teach a for-credit information literacy course, I often struggled to engage students meaningfully. My students seemed to lack any real connection to the curriculum and so were often unmotivated and difficult to teach.

One day, while talking to a faculty member who teaches service learning (SL) courses, I saw an opportunity to incorporate an SL component into my course. My class would require students to provide research to a local nonprofit agency. The class assignments would allow my students to develop real-world connections to the community and the curriculum. I hoped it would engage them more fully than anything I had tried before.

A library colleague, Cheryl Lauricella, and I planned to co-teach the information literacy course EDT (Educational Technology) 110, and she was equally as excited about integrating SL. Administrators in Wright State University’s College of Education and Human Services quickly approved the necessary curriculum changes; the Office of Service Learning helped us select and add essential SL components like community partnership, service, and reflection to our new curriculum.

When my co-teacher saw an advertisement in the local newspaper seeking volunteers to conduct research for Children’s Hunger Alliance (CHA), the pieces fell in place. We collaborated with the director of service learning and a CHA AmeriCorps member to make our vision a reality. Soon, EDT 110: “Community Research Connections” was born.