Community-University Partnerships & Service Learning
Community Partner Guide to Service Learning:
Part 2: Introduction to Service-Learning
is a process in which an academic course integrates student
participation in meaningful community work that reinforces course
concepts and meets a community identified need .
In other words, you would be working with students on a project that:
- Will help to address a need in your organization and/or the broader community;
- Will be integrated into the students’ coursework as an essential learning tool;
- And will help them to better understand and apply what they are learning in class.
Service-learning projects can take on a number of formats, ranging from projects that simply offer exposure and Information-gathering to those that offer on-site organizational support or program involvement, and/or those that tackle specific issues through problem-based service-learning or community-based participatory research. Projects can be direct (on-site service to constituents), indirect (on-site support service not working directly with constituency), or non-direct (off-site support service).
There are many models for how a project can fit into a course. For example :
- Placement: The placement model integrates an optional or required community service component in an existing course. Students select a service placement and complete projects individually or in small groups.
- Service-Centered: The service-centered model builds a course around a community service experience. The service-learning is the central concentration of the course.
- Problem-Based or Community-based Research / Action research: These models make the study of community problems and the application of research findings the center of service-learning activities. Research is performed with and shared with community partners.
- Disciplinary Capstone: The disciplinary capstone model invites students to demonstrate their accumulated knowledge in a specific discipline through a service-learning project.
- Additional Credit Option: Service is performed as an optional addition to a regular course.
We had such a good relationship with UVM, that when this project came up, we wanted to work together again… Besides the tangible accomplishment the UVM students will bring to the town, what’s neat for me is to see how the students, in a matter of a few weeks, really came to appreciate this land.
~ Dan Gaherty, Milton Conservation Commissioner
Examples of Service-Learning Partnerships
- A statistics course applies knowledge of survey and analysis through a partnership with the Committee on Temporary Shelter, which needs a survey done of its constituents.
- A fisheries course creates presentations that reflect students learning for the ECHO Center at Lake Champlain, thereby providing ECHO with resources to share with the greater public.
- An adaptive physical education course partners with Special Olympics to complete a project that helps students learn about real-world adaptive needs and techniques.
- An environmental interpretation course partners with the Intervale Center to guide visitors and design an educational interpretive plan for the community farm.
Questions to Consider Before Entering into a Service-Learning Partnership
- How would a service-learning partnership meet the objectives and goals of my community agency?
- Can I incorporate course objectives related to students, faculty, the larger community issues, and/or the institution?
- What types of experiences would be best for my organization? What types of courses would benefit from a partnership with my agency?
- What kinds of preparation would my agency need in order to participate in a service-learning partnership with students? How will I facilitate this preparation?
- How will the partnership enhance academic learning through service-learning experiences?
- In what way will my agency assess the service-learning partnership? What criteria will we use?
How to find a Potential Service-Learning Partner
- Contact the CUPS Office (802-656-0095 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss possible community partnerships with faculty and students at UVM.
- Submit a Community Partner Interest Form
- Attend CUPS workshops or events that are open to the campus community and local organizations. These events provide opportunities to begin conversations with future university partners. Check out our calendar.
< Section One: Working with UVM
Section Three: Building a Partnership >
Last modified January 25 2011 11:27 AM