Book by David P. Redlawsk, Tom Rice and Associates
Review by Ashley Vikander
School of Social Ecology Student Services
University of California, Irvine

President Obama lists ‘service’ as one of the several issues of importance during his administration (The Whitehouse, 2010). Administrators and faculty interested in service learning and civic engagement programs can turn to Civic Service, Service Learning with State and Local Government Partners (2009) for inspirational examples of successful campus-government engaged partnerships. 

Redlawsk, Rice and Associates highlight best practices of more than a dozen effective university-government partnerships in the United States. Their attention to relationships, politics, organizational structures as well as agendas and backgrounds of key players in each partnership provides snapshots on practices that are successful in promoting and sustaining civic engagement and ideas for marshalling resources. Each partnership is discussed from at least two perspectives, providing insight and guidance on possible considerations for entering into or improving an existing civic service opportunity on campus. 

Readers will gain an understanding of how these entities entered into an engaged civic service partnership, maintained the partnership, and measured results – both qualitatively and quantitatively. They will get insight into the impact on the community, the faculty, the students and the respective campuses. Each chapter highlights a specific partnership and shows how such partnerships can lead to innovative solutions to social issues and while providing a rich context for learning in a complex social/organizational environment. 

Readers do not need the time to read the entire book cover-to-cover. Rather they may glance through the table of contents or index for relevant partnerships. Each chapter stands alone and focuses on a particular partnership. Key players in the partnership are identified, and contact information is often times included. In addition to rich vignettes, readers gain an avenue to tap into an existing network of faculty and community members that are supporters and leaders in civic service. In addition, there are several resources included in the last appendix for further information, sample syllabi, legal issues, resource considerations and more. While this isn’t a book for the general advisor population, it is definitely for those who manage civic engagement, service learning, internship or field study programs. 

The Whitehouse, President Barack Obama. (2010). Service. Retrieved form: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/service

Civic Service: Service-Learning with State and Local Government Partners, (2009). Book by David P. Redlawsk, Tom Rice and Associates. Review by Ashley Vikander. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 355 pp. $40.00. ISBN # 978-0-470-37374-3
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