Building Bridges and Crossing Borders: Using Service Learning to Overcome Cultural Barriers to Collaboration Between Science and Education Departments


Editors' Note: Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kevin Carr, George Fox University, 414 N. Meridian St., Newberg, OR, 97132.


Powerful preparation of elementary educators in teaching science involves significant contributions from both scientists and teacher educators. Ironically, faculty and students in science and teacher education departments are often isolated from one another not only across the physical boundaries of the university, but across the cultural boundaries of academe. Coordination and collaboration between science and education faculty and students requires a careful negotiation of these cultural boundaries. This paper presents several illustrations of both successful and unsuccessful collaborative episodes documented during the creation of an interdepartmental service learning project, Science Outreach. The illustrations are interpreted in terms of a cultural difference model, and recommendations are made for successful interdepartmental collaboration.