Service-Learning Community Partners
Definition of a Community Partner
Service-learning is premised on the idea of partnerships of mutual benefit, where community organizations, the college’s faculty, and students work together to identify problems and interventions in the community. A service-learning approach views the community not simply as a teaching laboratory but an equal partner. Therefore, equal emphasis is placed on promoting student learning and addressing community needs. It is expected that community partner organizations will collaborate in the design of the service-learning project and provide feedback on the effectiveness of partnership activities.
What do service-learning partnerships look like?
Service-learning partnerships can take on a variety of forms. What’s important is that the student’s project(s)/placement(s) are determined through a discussion that considers and balances your agency’s needs, the academic course goals and objectives, and student interests in service.
Areas of service may include the following:
- Direct service: Students interact directly with staff or clients from your organization (e.g., reading to elementary school students, providing services, collecting oral histories working on site).
- Indirect service: Service often takes place “behind the scenes” (e.g. researching target markets, analyzing surveys, providing website updates).
- Advocacy: Students help promote or create an awareness of a community issue (e.g., creating marketing materials, public speaking, planning/participating in advocacy events or activities).
- Research: Students, faculty and community members collaboratively engage in research with the purpose of solving a pressing community problem or supporting the activities of a local community organization.
Community Partner Benefits
Why Participate in Service-Learning with the College of Coastal Georgia?
Staff members at community organizations may have various reasons for welcoming service-learning collaborations, including:
Helping Build Capacity in your Organization
- Helping build positive relationships for and with students who bring enthusiasm and creative ideas, as well as specialized skills to the needs of local community organizations
- Coveting student contributions to their organization and its clients
- Creating short-term and long-term solutions to pressing community needs
- Ability to enhance or extend services needed community services
- Gaining additional human resources needed to achieve organizational goals
- Injecting new energy, enthusiasm, and perspectives into the organization's work
- Growing the organization's volunteer pool; service-learning students will share their experiences with friends and classmates or may volunteer after their service-learning course is over
Relationship and Awareness-Building
- Providing awareness of community needs and the agencies which provide for them
- Utilizing service-learning as an outreach activity, increasing visibility for the organization and its work
- Exposing the good work of your organization and community issues related to your organization to students and populations who may not have been aware
- Creating potential for additional partnerships and collaboration with the College
- Building positive relationships with College; gaining access to college resources and student expertise
- Increased public awareness of key issues
Fostering a Culture of Civic Engagement & Social Justice
- Cultivating a new generation of caring and experienced citizens and volunteers
- Fostering an ethic of servant leadership in students who will be tomorrow's volunteers and community leaders, as well as increasing overall community volunteerism
- Helping prepare today's students to be tomorrow's civic leaders
- Networking with colleagues in other organizations and agencies and faculty members
Contributing to Student Education
- Opportunities to contribute to the educational process of college students
- Enjoyment of coaching students and observing their development
- Reaching out to and educating students/youth about community issues - an important part of any organization's future support