The Research Service-Learning Program (RSLP) engages faculty and graduate students with undergraduates in community-based research/learning projects. The program is designed to respond to real-life community needs and concerns. RSLP serves as a means to achieve a broad range of University and community goods:
As a research program, the RSLP provides undergraduates with an engaging, hands-on introduction to the research methods and questions from an array of disciplines. It provides graduate students with research and teaching opportunities and allows faculty to identify promising students and provide them with early mentoring, as well as supporting faculty research agendas. The Program deepens UNM’s important function as New Mexico’s flagship research institution by applying its research and practice capabilities to identified community needs. Faculty and students work with a variety of community residents and organizations to identify and address useful community projects and collaborative baseline-and ongoing research programs.
As a service program, the RSLP helps UNM fulfill its civic responsibility. The Program demonstrates the purpose of knowledge creation and provide students with the opportunity to contribute to the wellbeing of their community. It demonstrates UNM’s desire to be an active partner in New Mexico’s development and provides UNM students with the awareness, knowledge, and skills necessary to address social and economic issues. We have seen that Program alumni who continue to partner with community groups to address the critical needs of New Mexico.
As a learning program, the RSLP is grounded in the significant content and knowledge of participating disciplines. The Program employs an experiential pedagogy to ensure deeper, more durable learning and encourages socially-relevant learning—increasingly important in attracting and retaining our first-generation students. Students in the Program experience the complexities of real-life situations and make use of an interdisciplinary approach organized around themes such as health, education, community development, environmental sustainability and economics.
Finally, as a program, the RSLP develops long-term, collaborative relationships with community constituencies. It extends beyond a one-semester, independently conceived community-based course and complements, strengthens, coordinates, and enriches existing UNM initiatives.