Using Service-Learning and the DEAL Model to Develop Students’ Soft Skills Upon Career Entry


  • Misty G. Smith Tarleton State University
  • Edward Randle Tarleton State University
  • Sharon Tiffany Bowers Tarleton State University


service-learning, soft skills, interpersonal skills, workforce development, transferrable skills, higher education, college students, generation


Professionals in the academic practice fields of education and social work indicate students lack positive soft skills upon entry into the workforce. Although the call for attention to soft skills is not new, the changing generational context prompts a reexamination of these needed skills in today’s society and the workplace. Preparing first-time-in-college students beyond content knowledge can appear difficult, particularly teaching in a traditional classroom environment. In this reflection, we share the strategy of using the DEAL Model for Critical Reflection in service-learning to highlight areas for growth and positively develop these essential workplace skills, so that students are more holistically equipped for a career, to be active citizens of their communities, and to contribute to their families.