Professor; Associate Vice President for Public Engagement, Office for Public Engagement
120 Morrill Hall
100 Church St S E
Areas of Interest
Measurement issues in community engagement and service-learning
Civic purposes of K-12 and higher education
Values and character education in national and international contexts
Community engagement for prosocial youth development
My primary research and teaching interests focus on the measurement and assessment of constructivist teaching, authentic learning, and experiential education as they pertain to the nexus between community engagement and the civic purposes of education. I am interested in examining these issues in the contexts of school reform, educational leadership, program evaluation, character and values education, teacher education, prosocial youth development, and student civic and career development. My work spans K-12 and higher education and is rooted in national (U.S.) and international contexts.
I apply an interdisciplinary perspective to my work, drawing primarily from psychology, sociology, and political science. My research relies on both quantitative and qualitative methods, and moves across positivistic, interpretive, and critical research paradigms as the research questions and investigations warrant. In recent years, I have become particularly interested in transnational studies that explore issues of community-based learning pedagogies and educational reform within and across national primary, secondary, and tertiary education systems.
Currently, with associate professor David Weerts, I co-teach a course, Public Engagement and Higher Education, which explores current issues of community engagement across various types of higher education institutions. Along with my faculty and teaching roles in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), I currently serve as the University’s Associate Vice President for Public Engagement. In this role, I work with units across the University of Minnesota to advance the institutionalization of various forms of public and community engagement into the University’s research, teaching, and outreach activities.
My career in education began in urban schools in California where I first served as a middle and high school teacher and site administrator. These early experiences cultivated my interest in active learning pedagogies and the various ways we engage students more fully in the learning process. After my graduate studies, I served as a researcher and faculty member in the Graduate School of Education at UC Berkeley, where I founded and directed the University’s Service-Learning Research and Development Center (SLRDC). During my 13 years as SLRDC director, I had the opportunity to work with faculty and students across the U.S. and abroad in various studies that explored the effects of service-learning on students, faculty, the community, and educational institutions. I also had the privilege of working with more than 30 graduate students from a broad range of disciplines and fields who served as graduate research assistants for the Center’s various research studies.
At UC Berkeley, I taught several courses on research and thesis development for the Principal Leadership Institute, which prepares educators for positions as urban school administrators. I also taught an undergraduate course, Logic of Inquiry: Analysis of Research in Education, which explored the various investigative forms and principles that define research in education.
Over the years, my professional work has been enriched by various collaborations with local school districts, state departments of education, foreign ministries of education, and state and national organizations focused on advancing student community engagement. My current work includes co-chairing the UNESCO International Values Education Research Consortium, a research collaborative composed of researchers from eight nations who are working to deepen understanding of universal values through a series of nationally-based and transnational research studies. I am also currently serving on the Council of Engagement and Outreach for the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), which focuses on advancing the role of community engagement at public institutions of higher education.
NSEE Researcher of the Year (2006)
Awarded by the National Society for Experiential Education
John Glenn Scholar for Service-Learning (2004)
Awarded by the Ohio State University
Annual Award for Outstanding Contributions to K-H Service-Learning Research (2003)
Awarded by International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE)
Mellon Faculty Fellowship for Advancing Research in Undergraduate Education (2003)
Awarded by UC Berkeley
Campus Compact National Engaged Scholar (1999)
Awarded by Campus Compact at Brown University
Furco, A. (2010). The engaged campus: Toward a comprehensive approach to public engagement. British Journal of Educational Studies, 58(4), 375-390. doi: 10.1080/00071005.2010.527656
Moely, B. E., Furco, A., & Reed, J. (2008). Charity and social change: The impact of individual preferences on service-learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service-Learning, 15(1), 37-48.
Furco, A. (2006). Is service-learning really better than community service? In A. Sliwka, M. Diedrich, & Hofer, M. (Eds.). Citizenship education (pp. 155-181). Berlin: Waxmann.
Furco, A. (2005). Impactos de los proyectos de aprendizaje-servicio. In D. Filmus, I. Hernaiz, M.N. Tapia, and P. J. Elicegui (Auts.). Aprendizaje y servicio solidario en la Educacion Superior y en Los Sistemos Educativos Latinoamericano (pp. 19-26). Buenos Aires, Republica Argentina: Ministerio de Educacion, Ciencia y Tecnologia. [in Spanish]
Furco, A. (2004). Zufriedner, sozialer, sensibler und motivierter: Hoffnungsvolle Ergebnisse in den USA. In A. Sliwka, C. Petry, and P.E. Kalb (Hrsg.). Durch Verantwortung lernen. Service-Learning: Erwas für andere tun (pp. 11-31). Weinheim, Deutschland: Beltz Verlag. [in German]
Furco, A. & Holland, B. (2004). Institutionalizing service-learning in higher education: Issues and strategies for chief academic officers. In M. Langseth & S. Dillon (Eds.). Public work and the academy. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company.
Furco, A. (2003). Issues of definition and program diversity in the study of service-learning. In S. H. Billig (Ed.), Studying service-learning. Lawrence Erlbaum Publishing Company.
Furco, A. (2002). Institutionalizing service-learning in higher education. Journal of Public Affairs, 6, 39-67.
Furco, A. (2002). High school service-learning and the preparation of students for college: An overview of the research. In E. Zlotkowski (Ed.), Service-learning and the first-year experience: Preparing students for personal success and civic responsibility (pp. 3-14). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.
Billig, S. H. & Furco, A. (Eds.) (2002). Service-learning through a multidisciplinary lens. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.
Billig, S. H. & Furco, A. (Eds.) (2001). Service-learning: The essence of the pedagogy. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.
Furco, A. & Root, S. (2001). Service-learning in teacher education: An overview of the research. In J. Anderson & K. Swick (Eds.). Strengthening service and learning in teacher education. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the ERIC Clearinghouse on Teaching and Teacher Education.
Furco, A. (Fall, 2000). Establishing a national center for research to systematize the study of service-learning. Michigan Journal of Community Service-Learning, 129-133.
Furco, A. (Fall, 1996). Service-learning and school to work: making the connections. Journal of Cooperative Education, XXXII(1), 7-14. Bethesda: Cooperative Education Association.
Furco, A. (1994). A conceptual framework for the institutionalization of youth service programs in primary and secondary education. Journal of Adolescence, 17, 395-409.