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Choosing A Community Partner

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Choosing A Community Partner Brenda Kowalewski, Weber State University Dawn Martindale, LDS Business College Conclusion A good relationship with a community partner ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Choosing A Community Partner


1
Choosing A Community Partner
  • Brenda Kowalewski, Weber State University
  • Dawn Martindale, LDS Business College

2
Presenters
  • Brenda Kowalewski
  • Weber State University
  • Director of Community-Based and Experiential
    Learning
  • Department of Sociology and Anthropology
  • Dawn Martindale
  • LDS Business College
  • Department of General Studies

3
Introduction A Sense of Community
  • Ive come to realize that real growth of
    character takes place in the valleys of
    life. -Dave Dravecky
  • Through such projects we are able to gain not
    only knowledge and understanding, but also a
    sense of contribution to society and fellowmen.
    We can see how our service can make a difference,
    be it small or great. No one is isolated from
    the world service learning strengthens society.
  • -Service Learning Student

4
Workshop Topics
  • Finding community partners
  • Whats 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

5
Pre-flection
  • What are some of the key components you are
    looking for in a community partner?
  • How have you identified community partners?

6
Questions to Consider when Designing a Service
Learning Course
  • 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 do you desire?
  • Charity, Project, Social-Change (Camarillos
    article)

7
Whats Important in a Community Partner?
  • Promotes 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.

8
Whats Important in a Community Partner?
  • Logistically works
  • 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.

9
Finding Community Partners How?
  • Service-learning coordinator acts as matchmaker
  • Data base of community organizations
  • BYU
  • UofU
  • SLCC
  • Utah/National Campus Compact
  • Prior knowledge and interest in the organization
  • On site visit
  • Community Partner Activities
  • Partners in Service Learning Events
  • Colleagues
  • Students Proposals
  • Miscellaneous Resources
  • Phonebook

10
S-L Coordinator as Matchmaker
  • Pros
  • Coordinator has knowledge of wide range of
    organizations
  • Coordinator can weed out the least relevant
    options
  • Coordinator 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.

11
Data base 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.

12
Faculty Interest Drives Partnership
  • Pros
  • Creating a partnership based on interest and
    passion.
  • May already have a rapport with staff at the
    organization.
  • Dont 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.

13
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.

14
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

15
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 citizenship
  • Highlight why you think your class and their
    organization might be a great partnership.
  • What needs do they have that might integrate with
    the courses objectives.
  • Ask about their to do list.

16
Organizing a Project It Takes Two
  • Questions to Ask (Worksheet)
  • 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 Co-teacher coordination
  • Faculty is the classroom teacher
  • Community Partner is the lab instructor

17
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

18
Faculty and the Community Partner A dialogue on
education and engagement
  • My hope is that the synergy of community
    partners, teachers, and students will create a
    pinnacle experience for all.
  • Carolee Stout, former coordinator of Volunteer
    Services at This is the Place Heritage Park

19
  • Faculty Aspirations
  • Creating a meaningful experience for students
  • Finding satisfaction in professionally
    contributing to your own community
  • Testing new ways to reach students
  • Addressing local concerns and problems
  • The service makes the students better learners
    and makes me a better teacher.
  • -Albert Camarillo

20
Building Partnerships
  • Level the playing field
  • Community partners tell us they are intimidated
    by faculty status
  • Open lines of communication
  • Provide partners with syllabus assignments
  • Open dialogue about expectations

21
Building Partnerships
  • Keep in Contact
  • Follow up phone calls
  • Check-In emails throughout the semester
  • Organize community partners emails in a group
    list
  • Invite partners to class activities
  • Oral Presentations
  • Reading Discussions
  • Introduction of Projects
  • Guest Speakers

22
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

23
Building PartnershipsCommunity Partner Handbook
  • Introduction
  • Expectations and responsibilities
  • Faculty hopes and objectives
  • Materials
  • Syllabus
  • Assignments
  • Readings
  • Faculty Contact Information
  • Websites
  • Bibliography

24
Sharing Experiences
  • What methods have you employed to build
    partnerships?

25
The Student and Community Partner Relationship
26
Student and Community Partner A Working
Relationship with the Faculty
  • 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. Theyve 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

27
Service-Learning and the Community Partners
Impact on Students
  • To be honest, how uninvolved and unpatriotic I
    have been. I have stood on the sidelines for too
    long. Patriotism is more than flag waving and
    fireworks. It is how we respond to public
    issues.
  • -Rhonda M.
  • In my opinion if every citizen would do any kind
    of service for the society we would have an even
    better society.
  • - SL Student

28
Service-Learning and Student Influence on
Community Partners
  • I believe the greatest outcome was the exposure
    these students gained from doing something new
    while also learning about the current state of
    food security and issues revolving around food
    security. It was exciting to see them learn.
  • -Agnes C., Wasatch Community Gardens

29
Sustaining PartnershipsCommunication
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.
  • Provide recognition of their contribution to
    teaching your students
  • Certificate
  • Invite them to a campus sponsored recognition
    event

30
Sustaining PartnershipsCommunication
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.

31
Expect the Unexpected When Problems Arise and
How to Deal with them.
  • Faculty as a 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?

32
  • Staff Reassignment or New Hire mid-semester.
  • 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

33
Reflection
  • List three things you will do to either find,
    build, or sustain a community partnership.

34
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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