Where Are You Teaching?

J.R. Jamison wrote the service-learning section in the Appendix of Where Am I Wearing? Below you’ll find a few of J.R.’s ideas followed by some resources and how to contact him if you need consultation on developing a service-learning curriculum or creating a roadmap to becoming an engaged campus.

Take it away, J.R. –

Spending the past decade of my career guiding campuses throughout the world on infrastructure development for the intersection of community engagement and higher education, I know the challenges institutions face when working with their local communities to focus on a shared issue. Add in glocal (global + local) experiences for experiential learning, and the complexities rise. Often, our own infrastructures hold us back from achieving what is possible.

Imagine a world (or a campus) where that is different. Where we can untangle the red tape and begin to move forward. I firmly believe that through partnerships, reciprocity and understanding, campuses can begin to make systemic changes that will shift traditional cultures and habits to be more accepting of faculty and student work in and with communities—ultimately leading to full engagement with their communities in a meaningful way. I’ve seen it happen in various capacities on over 40 campuses I’ve worked with.

To be a campus that cares about community engagement and wants to develop future citizens who think deeply about what they’re reading and their actions in a glocal (global + local) context, often the first step is to begin service-learning courses.

As I outlined in the 2nd edition of Where Am I Wearing?, below are a few brief examples of what this might look like when creating a service-learning curriculum based on the book:

Discipline: Fashion Design & Merchandising
Level: 200+

The content in the classroom is focusing on the history of the industry, understanding textiles, and developing business models, but how much of the content is on understanding the people and lives of those who make our clothes? What impact could future fashion design and merchandisers have on the global economy and lives of people if they understood these complexities from the start? How does one create and sell sustainable lines that are good for the environment and fair for the people? Perhaps the learning starts in their own backyard. An example of this would be to have students read Where Am I Wearing? and have them spend time working with a local community agency focused on poverty while learning the stories of those they serve. The students could work with the agency to put on a fashion show that educates the participants and audience of how to dress for success while shopping in bargain or secondhand stores. In the classroom, what are the connections between the local stories and those within the factories? How do both stories impact how one designs and/or sells? What could the future of fashion design and merchandising look like if we learn about, and at times with, the maker and the consumer?

Discipline: Sociology
Level: 100+

The content in the classroom is getting students to think about self, society, race, gender, and class. What better way to learn that than to get them involved in their local communities while thinking about the global context of what they’re learning in and out of the classroom? While students are reading Where Am I Wearing?, they could be volunteering their time at a homeless shelter or serving at a battered women’s shelter to learn first-hand about the complex nature of life all while breaking stereotypes about class and gender. During class time, students could reflect and connect course content with what they’re learning in Where Am I Wearing?, what they’re experiencing at their community site, and compare and contrasts the lives of those in the book with those in their local community. How are their lives different? How are their lives the same? As a sociologist, how will this change how I better understand self, society, race, gender, and class?

Discipline: Business/Economics
Level: 300+

Business/Economics students are our future industry leaders. If we engage these students in service-learning, we are creating future leaders who are also civic-minded. As students are preparing for field experiences, they could be reading Where Am I Wearing? while applying their skills with a local community agency. They could work with local community center sites throughout the semester teaching local teenagers about the culture, history, and economies of our global world; in particular those places where the U.S. conducts most of its business. In the higher education classroom, the connection of course content with that of Where I Am Wearing? tied with the service-learning experiences should, ideally, heighten the actions of how a future business leader acts in a global economy.

These examples are brief and thus would take more thought regarding the people and learning involved, but the examples should give you an idea of how you could transform your classroom into one that helps students understand the course content and the glocal world in which we live.

For deeper examples of what this might look like for you, regardless of discipline, or for resources to develop a more engaged culture on your campus, I encourage you to visit some of the following sites below.

Or if you would like to bring me to your campus to consult with you and your faculty on developing a service-learning curriculum, or a roadmap for becoming an engaged campus, please contact me at

Online Service-Learning and Community Engagement Resources by Category

Infrastructure Development, Funding, and Relevant Resources:

Campus Compact – is the premier resource for community engagement in higher education, and is comprised of a network of more than 1,100 institutions in all 50 states and four countries. Online database of downloadable service-learning syllabi, and access to 35 state Campus Compact offices.

American Association of Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) – is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. In the past few years, AAC&U has focused part of their efforts toward civic learning.

  • AAC&U released, A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future – a report emphasizing the importance of civic learning in higher education, and a call to action to make civic learning as important as workforce training.
  • AAC&U has some great resources that address diversity, global engagement, and social responsibility as compelling educational and institutional priorities that help students and campuses engage the social, civic, and economic challenges of a diverse and unequal world.

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) –is a nonprofit organization that promotes health (broadly defined) through partnerships between communities and higher educational institutions. Online resources include publications and materials related to service-learning, community-based participatory research, community-engaged scholarship, and funding opportunities (updated every two weeks).

Publications, Libraries, and Research:

National Service-Learning Clearinghouse (NSLC) –maintains a website to support service-learning programs, practitioners, and researchers. In addition, the Clearinghouse also maintains a library collection, plus online materials, referrals, information, and reference and technical assistance related to program startup, academic research, assessment and evaluation, online documents, or anything else regarding service-learning.

Community Engaged Scholarship for Health – is a free online mechanism for faculty peer-reviewing, publishing and disseminating products of health-related community-engaged scholarship that are in forms other than journal articles. For example, videos, manuals, curricula and products developed through service-learning, community-based participatory research and other community-engaged work.

International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE) – is an international, non-profit organization devoted to promoting research and discussion about service-learning and community engagement. IARSLCE holds an annual research conference and provides networking opportunities for people interested in service-learning research. It publishes Advances in Service-Learning Research, a series of volumes developed from the annual research conference.