Date of Award





Doctor of Education

Degree Type



Counseling, Foundations & Leadership

First Advisor

Victor Salazar

Second Advisor

Christopher Garretson

Third Advisor

Douglass Tompson


Surveys have shown that students are not enthusiastic about taking history in college; some describe the discipline as boring and unnecessary. College is a setting where students are investing in themselves, exploring new knowledge to build a career, and gaining insight into the person they want to become in the future. Learning history through a traditional lecture method where memorization of names, dates, and events seems to be the norm is not appealing to students. Universities, promoting the thought that a well-rounded education is beneficial, commonly add history to the collection of general education core courses that are required for degree completion. With this outlook, students enter history classrooms with a 'check-box' mentality and do not put much interest into what they may learn from the course. Using an experiential learning theory, this qualitative case study sought to find out to what degree students in a higher education U.S. history core course would be engaged with and learn history content by performing a service-learning project that was linked to the course's objectives. The data consisted of project assignments including participant diaries, auto-photograph presentations, and virtual discussion questions. The results of the study found that through the experience of service-learning students made new discoveries about themselves and what they liked or found useful. Students self-reported a connection to history. Because of their service-learning experience, they reported that the project was useful to their learning of history, with some changing their attitudes about the utility of the discipline. This study serves as a model for history instructors on how using experiential learning strategies in the classroom can motivate student learning. Also, servant leadership professionals can use this study to promote discipline-specific service-learning endeavors.