Students who participate in community-based learning are not only committed to service as part of their academic requirements, but they are also engaged in meaningful reflection and academic learning that deepens their connection to the service.
If your organization is interested in hosting students for semester-long service opportunities connected to an academic course, please email Kristen Wright, Director of Community Engagement and Civic Learning.
In a community-based learning course, the instructor, student, and community partner work together to match course learning objectives with agency service needs.
In some cases the instructor and community partner co-create the service project and present it to students in the course
In other cases, the learning objectives are established by the instructor and student, then fine tuned through a discussion between the student and community partner.
We encourage all community partners to view their role as co-educators in the community-based learning course. Your expertise and experience provide critical learning for students about the practical applications of their academic learning and ethical implications of working with communities.
In order to ensure the most positive experiences for both students and community organizations, we encourage you to follow these helpful practices:
- Orientation: Students should receive an orientation to your organization. This can include background on the issue(s) your organization addresses, programs your organization provides, and the experiences of clients your organization serves.
- Review Expectations: You should have an initial conversation with students about what to expect over the course of the project, as well as goals, needs and communication plans.
- Supervision: Discuss what supervision looks like with the student and develop a plan for reviewing progress.
- Communication and Problem Solving: You can communicate with the course instructor or CECIL whenever problems arise. Please know that although a student may be required to participate in service for a course, you are not obligated to host them. While students may have much to learn, your partnership with them should be a positive one.
- Co-Instructors: Encourage your staff and volunteers to consider themselves co-instructors of the course. Take advantage of opportunities to demonstrate the complexities involved in the issues you address.
Process for Working with Community-Based Learning Courses
- At the beginning of the semester, either the instructor or the students will provide a Community Based Learning Agreement Form. This form is intended to foster a good initial discussion about the expectations of the project and the intended learning objectives.
- Mid-semester your organization will be contacted to confirm the student(s) are meeting the expectations of the planned project.
- At the end of the semester, the primary supervisor of the student(s) involved will be asked to complete an evaluation form. This information helps students assess their performance and helps faculty with continual course improvement.
- If the project was a positive one for you, and the course is offered again in the future, the process can continue its cycle again in subsequent semesters.
We recommend that students spend 30-45 hours with your organization in order to receive academic credit for their service
Work can be completed onsite or in a remote setting depending on the project