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Robert Sigmon Collection

Identifier: Mss.Coll.033

Scope and Contents

This collection focuses on the subject of service-learning and its development as an educational tool for higher learning from 1962 to 2006. The first three boxes contain periodicals and newsletters. The two main titles are Experiential Education and Synergist. The fourth box has a list of 72 books about service-learning and is associated with the collection. The other files in these boxes contain published articles and publications found in resources such as the American Journal of Education and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Boxes five through nine comprise the rest of the collection covering the many workshops, conferences, speeches, and educational functions which Sigmon and others gave and/or attended. Also included are research notes, teaching aids, and other documents related to service-learning and experiential education. For specific information about the contents in each box, please refer to the Detailed Description of the Collection (Series Note) and the Container List below.


  • 1962 - 2006

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research

Copyright Notice

The nature of the Archives and Special Collections of Belk Library means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Archives and Special Collections of Belk Library claims only physical ownership of most materials. The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to the U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research of otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical / Historical

Robert Sigmon was a pioneer on the forefront of experiential learning and experiential service. The majority of his manuscript collection reflects the decades of the 1970s through the 1990s in this field. His teachings, research, and development through workshops, discussions and classes provide insight into the field as it progresses away from rote or didactic learning. This type of learning is beneficial for self-directed students who take the initiative to acquire, apply and create the knowledge and skills needed to build character and community into creating a meaningful social change. In essence, experiential learning means taking the participant out of the classroom and into the world of reality. The information below was written by Robert Sigmon. Robert Sigmon was born in Lincoln County, NC, grew up in Charlotte, NC, graduated from Harding High School, and received a B.A. degree from Duke University in 1957. Following college, he served in West Pakistan as a lay missionary with the Methodist Church where he managed a hostel for 130 boys. Bob oversaw the care, feeding, study halls of the non-classroom life of these youngsters (ages 11-16) who came from the lowest caste families in the Punjab region of Pakistan. After three years in Pakistan, he studied for nine months at United Theological College in Bangalore, in southern India. Bob completed a Master of Divinity degree in 1964 at Union Theological Seminary, holding a two year field assignment as convener of a young adult ministry project at The Riverside Church in New York. During the Civil Rights era (1964-66) Bob and his wife, Marian, co-directed a Quaker Peace Corps type program in the southeast with the American Friends Service Committee. Given his work in Pakistan, New York and with economically and racially oppressed communities in the southeast, he became intrigued with the kinds of learning that occur when young people and adults engage in direct service activities with oppressed and marginalized people. So for the next 40 years he worked in positions centered on promoting public service based experiential learning, primarily in the southeastern USA. Through the Southern Regional Council (1966-1970) he promoted service based experiential learning throughout the southeast. He helped create in 1969 the North Carolina Internship Office (NCIO), a joint project of the Governor's Office and the Board of Higher Education (later became the consolidated UNC system) which promoted service based experiential learning throughout the state. From 1970-75 he directed the NCIO. During this time, he was part of a group that formed what is now the National Society for Experiential Education. He designed and managed a student initiated community based practicum for the new School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina (1975-78) and managed clinical training and continuing education programs for health care practitioners from 1978-91 in Raleigh, NC. Since 1991 he has consulted with national, state, and local programs supporting community-based public service based experiential learning. In the early 1990s he designed and presented workshops promoting servant-leadership through the Robert K. Greenleaf Center. For ten years he served as Senior Associate with the Engaged Community and Campus initiative of the Council of Independent Colleges in Washington, D.C. The Sigmon's moved to a small farm in Western North Carolina in 1999, although Marian continued to work from her home for the N.C. Division of Aging until 2001 and Bob continued his consulting business until 2005. He now aspires to become a competent gardener, beekeeper, woodworker and handyman. The family (his daughters and their families share the farm space) reside on a small farm in the Riceville community of northeastern Buncombe County. Biographical Sources: Composed by Robert Sigmon.


8.25 Linear Feet (9 archival boxes)

Language of Materials



This manuscript collection was compiled by Robert Sigmon, a leading educator and advocate in the field of service-learning for higher education. It is contained in 9 boxes, covering 1962-2006, with 472 folders and about 2532 items. The materials encompass self-directed learning, experiential learning, partnerships with the community, assessing public needs, internships, career opportunities, workshops, teaching, conferences on this topic, and much more. For a complete listing of the specific contents in this collection, consult the section below titled "Detailed Description of the Collection."


Boxes 1-3 are arranged alphabetically by title of periodical or newsletter and then chronologically; box 4 contains published articles and publications which, are arranged chronologically; boxes 5-9 are arranged chronologically and then by type of material which include: Address, Agenda, Bibliography, Book Chapter, Correspondence, Essays, Evaluations, Flyer, Forms, Handbook, Manuscripts, Map, Meeting notes, Membership, Policies and procedures, Press release, Proposals, Prospectus, Questionnaire, Reports, Research notes, Schedule, Speeches, Surveys, Syllabi, Teaching aids, and Transparencies.

Physical Location

The collection is located in Belk Library Archives Satellite Shelving at Elon University. Please contact the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian for further details about the location.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift. Please refer to the Correspondence Legal file for more information.

Accession Number


Related Materials

There are no related materials to this collection at this time.

Processing Information

Processed by Lucy Burgess, December, 2009

Encoded by Katie Nash, January, 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Belk Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

100 Campus Drive
2550 Campus Box
Elon North Carolina 27244 USA