Alternative Spring Break Jamaica! Service Learning and Civic Engagement in a Developing Country


  • Cheryl Clark Western Carolina University
  • C. Victoria Faircloth Western Carolina University
  • Rebecca Lasher Western Carolina University
  • Michael K. McDonald Western Carolina University


global competence, global education, policy, United States, Australia


This article features the work of an interdisciplinary faculty collaborative project that involved 35 university students who participated in a week long spring break service learning trip to the island of Jamaica.  Details regarding the planning process are highlighted.  A section is included on the experiences of students, student outcomes, and faculty assessment of how outcomes were met. Finally, a section on lessons learned for university faculty who are interested in developing similar experiential learning experiences for students is provided for future planning efforts.

Author Biographies

Cheryl Clark, Western Carolina University

Received her ADN from the University of Indianapolis in 1968, her BSN from the University of Evansville in 1975, and her MSN from California State University in LA in 1981. She has worked in medical/surgical units, cardiac stepdown units, and long term care. For the past 13 years, she has been a nurse educator at WCU, working primarily in medical-surgical and mental health classes. She is certified in Faith Community Nursing. Her interest include spiritual care of patients and international nursing.

C. Victoria Faircloth, Western Carolina University

Associate Professor in the School of Teaching and Learning, College of Education, at Western Carolina University. She receved her doctorate in Education from the University of Georgia, in 1990. Her current interest in international service learning was started in 1997, when she became part of the university's teacher education program in Jamaica.

Rebecca Lasher, Western Carolina University

Rebecca has a masters in Social Work. She has years of experience in the field of social work, and is interested in school social work. She currently teaches in the Department of Social Work at WCU, where she has been nominated for the Chancellor's Disrtinguished Teaching Award. In addition ot her exceptional teaching, Rebecca also serves the entire campus community as the secretary of the Faculty Senate.

Michael K. McDonald, Western Carolina University

Michael is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Government and Politicsat the University of Maryland and Visiting Instructor in the Department of Political Science at WCU. His research and teaching interests focuses on international and economic development, internationl political economy, and international public health. For 2011-2012, he was a co-investigator on the WCU Poverty Project. Michael also researches the scholarship of teaching and learning, having published articles on experiential learning and civic engagement.