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Service-Learning Workshop # 5

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1 Service-Learning Workshop # 5
Working Effectively with Community Partners

2 Tennessee State University Service Learning and Civic Engagement


4 Review of the Seven Elements of High Quality Service
1.Integrated Learning- clearly articulated learning outcomes 2. High Quality Service- meet actual community need 3. Collaboration- all partners benefit and contribute 4. Student Voice- students actively plan & participate 5. Civic Responsibility- contributes to the community 6. Reflection- connect service & academic learning 7. Evaluation- measure learning & service goals

5 Workshop Topics Finding appropriate community partners
What’s important in a partner? How do I find a partner? Making first contact Organizing a project Building partnerships Faculty and community partnership Student and community partnership Sustaining partnerships Review of Syllabus Development, Reflection, Grading Your questions, concerns, and successes

6 Campus Community Partnerships for Health (a good guide)
Principles of Good Community-Campus Partnerships Adopted by the CCPH Board of Directors, October 2006

7 How can we formally integrate the principles of partnership into our work?

8 Pre-flection What are some of the key components you are looking for in a community partner? How have you identified community partners?

9 The Service-Learning Quadrant
The Service-Learning Quadrant, developed at the Service-Learning 2000 Center, Stanford University, California, provides an effective method for recognizing the differences between high service and low service, unrelated learning and integrated service-learning projects.

10 Questions to Consider when Designing a Service Learning Project
What are my course objectives? What to I hope to achieve through this partnership? What course concepts to I desire my students to learn through a hands-on experience? How can I reinforce this goal in the classroom? How can the students and I contribute to our local community? What type of service learning is the best fit for these students? Direct Service, Capacity Building, Policy Development, Education, etc.?

11 What’s Important in a Community Partner?
Provides support for learning Has needs that directly relate to your course objectives and students can address. Willing collaborator & communicator. Able to mentor students. Provides safe learning environment. Has enough infrastructure to support the students’ work

12 What’s Important in a Community Partner?
Logistically works for students Open during hours that work with students’ schedules. Willing to work with students’ schedules. Location accessible to students. Can accommodate the number of students in your course.

13 How to Find Community Partners:
Service-learning website Center for Service-Learning Staff Prior knowledge and interest in the organization On site visit Community Partner Activities Partners in Service Learning Events Colleagues’ recommendations Students’ Proposals Miscellaneous Resources Community foundation Internet

14 S-L Staff as Matchmakers
Pros Staff have knowledge of wide range of organizations Staff can “weed out” the least relevant options Staff can facilitate first contact between faculty and partner Faculty have to identify the course objectives they hope to address via service-learning. If you are new to service-learning, this can be very helpful. Cons You are relying on a matchmaker who may not completely understand your course objectives.

15 Web Site Approach Pros Wide range of organizations at your finger tips. You do the “weeding out” with your specific course objectives in mind. You make first contact with partners. A seasoned practitioner might enjoy this level of control. Cons Can be overwhelming, especially for a novice to service-learning. “Weeding out” process rests with you which can be time consuming.

16 Faculty Interest Drives Partnership
Pros Creating a partnership based on interest and passion. May already have a rapport with staff at the organization. Don’t need an introduction. Established lines of communication. Can focus on building a partnership rather than simply finding one. Familiarity with needs and structure of organization. Better sense of what your students’ experiences will be. Better sense of how your course objectives will be met through service-learning at this particular organization. Cons If involved with the organization in another capacity prior to service-learning partnership, may need to re-negotiate or re-define roles.

17 Students Choose Pros Students may be more likely to have a genuine interest in the project if they self-select. Students less resistant to service-learning because they can find a service site that fits into their schedules. Easier on the faculty member in terms of finding service-learning placements. Cons Run the risk of service sites that are not consistent with teaching course objectives. Faculty are not creating partnerships; they are creating placements. Faculty may have as many community partners as they have students in their class. Faculty members have a lot less control over quality of the learning. Have to build in quality control mechanisms (e.g. site approval process). Run the risk that the focus becomes more about service, less about learning.

18 Miscellaneous Resources
Pros Faculty may find new resources not previously considered Faculty can find partners that meet course topics and personal research interest There is the opportunity for creativity in establishing new relationships. Cons Some apprehension may exist in calling an unfamiliar agency and explaining a new collaboration effort Information may not be conveyed clearly enough An agency may be exhausted by other classes

19 First Contact: The Initial Conversation
If the partner is unfamiliar with the concept provide a brief summation of service-learning. What is it? Examples: A teaching style where students work in the community to learn classroom concepts Students gain insight into civic responsibility Mutually beneficial Give examples of potential projects Summarize your course syllabus and highlight why you think your class and their organization might be a great partnership. What assets do they offer as co-facilitators of student learning? What needs do they have that might integrate with the course’s objectives? Ask about their “to do” list.

20 Organizing a Project: It Takes Two
Suggested things to discuss/clarify Contact Information Preferred method of contact Hours of project (time and amount) Number of students needed Mission Statement/Agency Objectives Project information- details Course objective relevance Additional information not previously listed Roles to Play: Coordination & Expectations Faculty member is the classroom teacher Community Partner is the lab instructor

21 A Follow-up to the Conversation
Send Course Materials Syllabi is the minimum Consider other items that might help partners Faculty contact information SL assignments SL readings Links to SL sites Student Contact Information (voluntary) Seek a second contact for clarification Welcome materials from community partners Organizational Handouts Announcement, flyers, etc. on project details

22 Planning for the Orientation
How will your students get oriented to the site(s)? In class presentation or on-site??? Community Partner Website or brochures? Share your success stories

23 Building Partnerships
Level the playing field Help the community partners to feel like a part of the teaching/learning team Help them to understand about academic timelines Include them in planning and evaluation activities Open lines of communication Provide partners with syllabus & assignments Open dialogue about expectations

24 Building Partnerships
Keep in Contact Follow up phone calls “Check-In” s throughout the semester Organize community partners’ s in a group list Invite partners to class activities Oral Presentations Reading Discussions Introduction of Projects Guest Speakers

25 Building Partnerships
Faculty make site visits To observe students in action To serve along side of students To hold a class or reflection session on site Community Partner Orientation Community Partner Handbook Institution Sponsored Activities

26 Building Partnerships: Community Partner Handbook (see website)
Introduction Expectations and responsibilities Faculty hopes and objectives Materials Syllabus Assignments Readings Faculty Contact Information

27 Challenges Please share the challenges you have overcome and how….
Transportation Time Supervision Evaluation Others

28 Sharing Experiences What methods have you employed
to build partnerships? To solve problems? To incorporate meaningful reflections? To evaluate your students’ learning?

29 Student and Community Partner: A Working Relationship
Student and Partner Contact Encourage partners to provide an orientation meeting for students Request students go as a group the first time to meet a partner and learn more about the project. Suggest a tour, if applicable Reminder: students are service-learning students, not volunteers. They’ve come to learn from you. When a problem arises, reassure students in approaching partners for clarification or help. Incorporate partner information as part of a refection exercise. Example: What have you learned about your agency/organization thus far and its role in the community? Student Partner Contract (see samples)

30 Sustaining Partnerships: Communication & Collaboration
Get feedback from partners throughout the semester (on the partnership, student performance, etc.) At the end of each semester to assess what needs to occur next time Review the community partner contact and project information form Inquire about their current needs and objectives. Ask the community partner to complete the evaluation form Provide recognition of their contribution to teaching your students Certificate Invite them to a campus sponsored recognition event

31 Sustaining Partnerships: Communication & Collaboration
Follow through on their requests for assistance Letters of support on grants Helping them to identify staff members Open Dialogue about needs Needs of the organization may change over time. Your needs may change over time. Dialogue to make sure both needs are still being met through the partnership. Consider a community partner evaluation form Plan Ahead Discuss changes and continuances for the next term Review the community partner contact and project information form Inquire about their current needs and objectives.

32 Expect the Unexpected: When problems arise, how will you deal with them?
Faculty as Mediator Student and Community Partner issues Behavior issues Change in partners’ requirements and expectations Investigating the Miscommunication Faculty and Community Partner differences What is the concern? Course objectives not clearly explained? Mission or expectation of the partner not understood? Break down in communication between faculty and student or community partner and their staff?

33 Other Issues/Challenges
Staff Changes at the site Reestablish contact Send basic materials again if necessary Review project agreements and make new arrangements if needed. Inform students of any changes Be prepared with a back up plan Other challenges????

34 Reflection List three things you will do to either find, build, or sustain a community partnership. How will you use information from this workshop to improve your practice?

35 Conclusion A good relationship with a community partner begins with open communication and continues to develop through the same means. Course content, logistics of location and time, and cooperation drive much of your efforts in finding the appropriate community partner. There are a number of ways to find partners, all have advantages and disadvantages. Employ the methods that produce partnerships that are best suited to teaching your course objectives. Partnerships, like any relationship, need to be nurtured. Much of this is accomplished through contact, communication and collaboration.

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