Date of Award

Summer July 2014

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Jill P. Bickett

Second Advisor

Marta P. Baltodano

Third Advisor

Richard Kahn


The purpose of this dissertation was to document, analyze, understand, and describe how the environmental virtue ethics of undergraduate students were impacted after participating in a service-learning project designed to establish a new university garden. This service-learning project occurred during the fall semester of 2011, on the campus of Lighthouse University, a mid-size Catholic college campus that is located in an urban area of Southern California. The service-learning component was embedded within one environmental ethics course. Over the course of one sixteen-week academic semester, thirty undergraduates, between the ages of 18-23, each volunteered ten hours in this new on-campus garden. In addition to the student volunteer work, one of the complimentary course components required students to attend a speaking engagement hosted by Dr. Vandana Shiva, a world-renowned environmentalist. The action researcher, served as the catalyst, recorder, and facilitator of this service-learning project. In these roles, the action researcher mobilized members of the university, volunteers from the broader community, and local master gardeners to work side by side with the undergraduate students in the garden. After a qualitative analysis was conducted through the procedures of action research, local recommendations were generated in order to assist future garden-based curricular and co-curricular activities.