Community-University Partnerships & Service Learning
Strategy #2A: Rights and Responsibilities of Involved Partners
- Communicate openly and contribute equally; reciprocity between partners is essential for effective service-learning partnerships.
- Recognize differences between volunteerism, internships, and true partnerships.
- Orient all service-learners to your organization including its policies and procedures.
- Communicate with university representatives regarding conflicts with service-learner or partnership.
- Ask for complete service-learning course materials from professor to become informed.
- Ensure a safe work environment and reasonable work hours for students
Guidelines for Community Partners
Richard Schramm, Community Development and Applied Economics
We very much appreciate your interest in having a UVM student team work with you on a project of importance to your organization. Student teams, with appropriate faculty and community partner support, can provide valuable assistance with research, implementation, and evaluation projects. For student teams to be effective, however, it is essential that the project be important to the organization and appropriate for student teams, and that students, faculty and community partners are clear about their roles and responsibilities with respect to the project.
The project needs to be important to the organization and of a type and scale that is appropriate for student teams. There also needs to be a good “fit” between the project and the team.
- Project importance ensures that the community partners will be willing to put in the time needed to inform and monitor student efforts. Its importance also motivates the students who realize that the project makes a difference and is not something put together just to give them something to do.
- The project needs to be manageable for students who are only able to work part-time on the project over a period of about 12 weeks. Some projects may carry over longer but for students on a semester system, it is necessary that the project be able to be broken into 12 week segments. We will work with you to ensure continuity on longer term projects.
- Depending on the difficulty of the project, the team may range from 1-5 students. It is normally expected in a typical course with a field study component that each student will put in about 3 hours/week or a total of about 36 hours on the project over a semester. Often students get highly involved in the project and put in much more than this but this is what is normally expected as part of the student’s course requirements. In courses that are entirely devoted to student field work, the total number of hours is of course much higher, but such courses are the exception. We will try to match the size of the student team with the work level of the project.
- Besides the number of students in the team, we will try to match individual student skills and knowledge with the project. These skills may include computer, website, internet, interviewing, surveying, writing, geographic information systems, interpersonal, high energy and enthusiasm; knowledge areas may include environment, economics, business, psychology, sociology, education, agriculture. We would work with you to match student skills and knowledge as best we can with your project; we would encourage you to get to know the students early and try to make best use of their individual skills and knowledge.
- The project may take many forms. It may be a research project - gathering information, doing analysis, and making recommendations about a problem or topic of interest to the organization. This can include evaluations with students examining a past or on-going program or activity to assess its effectiveness or efficiency. It may be an implementation project, helping an organization put a program or procedure or operation in place, getting something started or helping make an existing program run better.
- Successful projects, for example, include a food waste and composting project at Edmunds Middle School where students helped implement the project and write up the results for wider distribution, and an individual student working with elementary school students to write and illustrate a book about a tomato’s travels from California to a plate in Burlington. Other examples from a class last semester are attached.
- The project is not an internship. Although students working on projects can usefully help out with some on-going operations of an organization or program like an intern, this would be part of assessing, starting up or improving the operation, not carrying it out on a day-to-day basis, more typical of internships.
- To ensure useful and quality projects, students, faculty and community partners must understand and carry out their roles and responsibilities.
- The student team’s role and responsibility is to design and carry out a field study that meets the needs and expectations of the community partner, and satisfies the field study requirements of the course they are in. The team will work very closely with the community partner and the faculty supervisor on the design of the project. Carrying out the project will be largely the responsibility of the student team, in regular consultation with community partner and faculty supervisor. This includes meeting all project deadlines for sections/parts of the project, progress reports, presentations, etc., as agreed upon with partner and faculty. Student team members will also be responsible for providing information needed for evaluating their, and their teammates, efforts to help faculty assign a grade for this part of the course.
- The faculty supervisor’s role is to work with the community partner to define the project, put together the team of students to carry out the project, support and supervise the student team over the semester, ensure that report deadlines are met and that students receive timely feedback on the work submitted for review, and evaluate the work of the team and individual members for grading purposes.
- The community partner’s role is to define the project as described earlier (especially the importance to the community organization) and to help ensure that the work of the student team meets their organization’s needs. The partner is expected to meet with the students and faculty initially to design the project, be sure that the students have access to organizational individuals and information as needed for the project, meet with students and/or faculty to help oversee the project over the semester according to an agreed upon schedule, and review the final project report and presentations and provide feedback to the faculty supervisor to help in student grading.
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Last modified January 28 2011 05:45 PM