Community service learning: Preparing female students in the United Arab Emirates for the workplace

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Book Chapter

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Encyclopedia of Information Communication Technologies and Adult Education Integration

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A learning community where students develop the knowledge, skills and abilities needed for meaningful and successful 21st century work and life is the vision for higher education programs in the Middle East. A successful learning community of faculty members, students, and site supervisors in a variety of community programs are working together to achieve this objective, and are jointly engaged in the pursuit of excellence and the development of human potential. It is Zayed University's goal to assure that students develop the higher-order intellectual capacities and technological skills they will need to succeed in a rapidly changing and increasingly complex world. This chapter describes the model used to meet the challenges faced by first generation female college graduates in the United Arab Emirates, a model that emphasizes community service learning placements and undergraduate research projects. These first generation graduates are also those who are expected to transition into a very conservative work environment. For the majority, community placements provided through this model is the first opportunity through which they are able to have any level of workplace experience. In this chapter we will report on this innovative community service program model experienced by students and will address challenges and successes of this program model which utilizes undergraduate student research, community involvement and the integration of female graduates into the workforce. We will share how this model provided insights into the work experience, as reported in students' journal reflections. An effective service learning program and undergraduate research involvement allowed these graduates to put theory into practice, develop habits of self analysis and reflective thinking, and contribute towards a greater understanding of organizational structures. © 2011, IGI Global.




IGI Global

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Open Access