The University of St. Thomas's Service- Learning Program: Matching the University's Catholic Mission to Greater Community Needs

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Rogelio Garcia-Contreras, Ph.D.
Jean-Philippe Faletta, Ph.D.
Rick Krustchinsky, Ed.D.


The University of St. Thomas (UST) is a private Catholic liberal arts university in Houston, Texas, whose mission includes a commitment to service. The pedagogy of service-learning aligns well with the school’s mission and with the teachings and social doctrine of the Catholic Church. Designed to expand opportunities for the procurement of the Catholic principle of subsidiarity, UST service-learning programs are considered as more than an educational tool. This article illustrates how concrete service-learning ideas help the University fulfill its mission. The virtues of the projects featured in the article, whether assisting elementary school kids to succeed in math or helping the poor help themselves, exemplifi es active student engagement and provides UST opportunities to promote justice, to enhance solidarity, and to defend human dignity.

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Author Biographies

Rogelio Garcia-Contreras, Ph.D., University of St. Thomas

Rogelio Garcia-Contreras is Assistant Professor of International Development and Political Economy at the Center for International Studies of the University of St. Thomas. He is also the Founder and Director of the University of St. Thomas Micro Credit Program, University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX.

Jean-Philippe Faletta, Ph.D., University of St. Thomas

Jean-Philippe Faletta is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the University of St. Thomas Service-Learning Program, University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX.

Rick Krustchinsky, Ed.D., University of St. Thomas

Rick Krustchinsky is Professor and Associate Dean of the Undergraduate Teacher Education Program at the University of St. Thomas School of Education, University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX.