Linking Graduate Education and Service

Published: May 17, 2004

Linking Graduate Education and Service


Joby Taylor, fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in UMBC’s Language, Literacy and Culture Program, is the director of the Shriver Peaceworker Program at UMBC’s Shriver Center. This prestigious fellowship program is specially designed for returned Peace Corps volunteers and follows a service-learning model for graduate education. It is named for R. Sargent Shriver, first director of the Peace Corps and architect of numerous public service programs such as Head Start, VISTA and Special Olympics.  

“It’s a really thoughtful and innovative program because it links graduate study with community service and ethical reflection,” says Taylor, a former Peace Corps worker in Gabon, Africa, and recipient of the Peaceworker fellowship for the past three years.   

“There are 14 fellows—full-time graduate students across a range of disciplines—who work 20 hours a week in community service internships,” says Taylor. “Every Friday we have seminars about social change and ethical issues. These seminars are key because they integrate what our fellows are doing in their service internships and what they are learning in their graduate programs. That’s service-learning in a nutshell!”   

The director’s position seems almost tailored for Taylor who, during his own fellowship, helped UMBC faculty members design and implement new service-learning courses. Taylor explains, “These courses integrate experiential learning opportunities for students into the traditional classroom components of reading, writing, lecture and discussion.  They involve the students in appropriate community service placements throughout the semester, and design assignments that help them to critically reflect upon their course content and their experiences of service.”  

“The service-learning model is great because it provides students with the opportunity to put their classroom learning into practice, while, at the same time, contribute their time and skills to meeting real social needs,” adds Taylor. “It is my hope for the Shriver Peaceworker Program that, in the spirit of Sargent Shriver, we will raise up a new generation of leaders who have the knowledge, skills and experience to build a more caring and just world.” 




Scroll to Top