ArtsCorpsDetroit supports and encourages scholarly research addressing the effectiveness of the arts in promoting personal growth and organizational and community change.
Generously funded by Wayne State University’s Office of the Vice President for Research ArtsCorpsDetroit – The Research Component established a research model to document and evaluate the impact of ArtsCorpsDetroit on the two main constituencies brought together through the service-learning courses: (1) WSU service-learning students (undergraduate and graduate) and (2) City of Detroit community partners.
Following are the two overarching questions shaping this research:
1. What are students’ experiences as service-learning participants, and what are the learning outcomes of their service-learning experiences?
2. What are community arts organizations’ experiences with WSU service-learning
students, and how does the involvement of service-learning students affect the overall effectiveness of their programs?
This year, two additional research questions have been added to ArtsCorpsDetroit- Research. That is:
3. How does engagement with ArtsCorpsDetroit programming improve the lives of agency constituents?
4. To what extent does ArtsCorpsDetroit involvement, at all levels, affect the perceptions of the role and function of art and the visual artist in revitalizing the Detroit region?
ArtsCorpsDetroit- Research Significance to the Field
The significance of the project is that it will contribute to the knowledge base on arts based service-learning in a number of important ways, such as:
• Understanding how students experience arts based service-learning over one semester ranging from the influence of service-learning on students’ academic learning and personal qualities to logistical experiences such as scheduling the time for service participation. Multiple strategies for assessment are being evaluated on various dimensions of students’ involvement (e.g. sensitivity to diversity, awareness of community, and sense of independence and autonomy) (Driscoll, Holland, Gelmon, & Kerrigan, 1996; Holland, 2001; Osborne, Hammerich, & Heasley, 1998; Wang & Jackson, 2005).
• Assessing how the service-learning course may have contributed to subject matter
learning in art, students’ awareness of local community art agencies, and/or students’ perception of their creativity and ways to utilize creativity in their academic careers and service to others (Eyler, 2000; Osborne, Hammerich, & Heasley, 1998; Zlotkowski, 2000).
• Exploring what conditions support students’ continuation of volunteer efforts postgraduation, specifically the role of self-efficacy in developing attitudes conducive to promoting volunteerism and social change (Kiely, 2005; Reeb, Katsuyana, Sammon, & Yoder, 1998).
• Giving voice to the community partners: Many service-learning studies neglect to fully explore the experiences of the community partners (Basinger & Bartholemew, 2006; Miron & Moely, 2006; Tryon, Stoecker, Martin, Seblonka, Higendorf, & Nellis, 2008).
ArtsCorpsDetroit-The Research Component will place a central focus on assessing the experience from the perspective of the community partners through interviews, focus groups, observations, and surveys. In addition, summative evaluation and narrative case studies will assist the community art partners with telling their stories.
• Assessing community arts programs. Although authors have noted some benefits of the arts to individuals and communities (Jones, 1988; Purcell, 2007), there are few robust studies to demonstrate such benefits (Galloway, 2009; Johnson, McGuinness, McCorkendale, & Laney, 2007; White & Rentschler, 2005).