A qualitative case study conducted in the Mariana Islands was utilized to gain insights on the sociocultural history, values, and philosophies of education of faculty engaged in service-learning at community colleges, and the relation to the decision to adopt service-learning. The study involved sixteen faculty from Guam Community College and Northern Marianas College who decided to adopt service-learning. Interviews were conducted to collect information about emic perceptions of their values, beliefs, and philosophies regarding education. In addition, the relationship between the cultural values of the faculty, the islands' culture, and service-learning were examined.
The analysis process involved a multistep process of coding of the data, which led to the discovery of patterns and development of themes. Initial themes were checked by key participants to verify the findings. Further thematic analysis resulted in six main themes that summarize the key findings of the case study. Themes were: (a) respecting others, (b) carrying out responsibilities, (c) caring for others, the altruistic way, (d) enjoying independence, (e) orienting toward community, and (f) valuing education. Depicted within each theme were key findings of values that were relevant in three important areas of participants' lives. These were their early experiences, their relation to the island culture, and their vocation of teaching.
The analysis revealed common patterns in early childhood and family experiences or participants, despite diverse backgrounds. There were also parallels between values that participants' held, pedagogical philosophies, and those they perceived were important in the local island culture, such as family and community. For participants, service-learning nurtured personal values and beliefs and supported philosophies of education. Findings revealed that participants found aspects of the islands' culture that conflicted with the educational values. With service-learning, participants were able to bridge cultural values and education.
Knowledge gained from this study informs administrators, educators, service-learning practitioners, and researchers about the importance of understanding the sociocultural history of faculty when considering the adoption of service-learning or other programs. The study may also shed light on the significance and meaning of community in service-learning initiatives in the Western Pacific and other indigenous communities.