On May 10, 2011 the Canadian Alliance for Community Service-Learning sponsored a CUExpo pre-conference symposium. Over 50 participants gathered to consider the elements of making community-campus partnerships effective.
Randy Stoecker, Professor at Wisconsin University and co-editor of Unheard Voices, started the day off with an engaging presentation on considerations to take into account when documenting outcomes for nascent communities and communities of place, identify, and practice.
Jane Hennig, Volunteer Centre Kitchener-Waterloo, Karen Swartz, Professor Carleton University, and Maxine Dubuc, Manager, Community-Based Learning & Career Development shared their research and perspectives on measuring outcomes from institutional, community and student perspectives.
The ensuing lively dialogue inspired CACSL to create a series of follow up online and teleconference dialogues to explore the questions in issues raised.
In the afternoon session participants brainstormed challenges to achieving and documenting community outcomes. Small groups focused on one challenge from each category, and collectively created potential solutions.
Small Groups Brainstormed
Solutions to Challenges:
- Investment of time at the outset to clarify goals.
- Reciprocal Relationships Measuring Outcomes
- Student Skill Level, students transient
- How to Document, defining outcomes, what does getting outcomes mean.
- Sustainable processes
- Social Justice vs. charity
- Students asking “what’s in it for me” – students concerned with melting course req’s vs contribution
- Long term projects vs short term priorities
- Using Storytelling to document outcomes
- Demands for measurable / deliverables from funders
- Sharing feedback constructively
Online for and teleconferences will be set up to support ongoing
conversation regarding dialogue questions raised at the symposium. Suggested topics so far:
- What is the connection between community
service-learning and knowledge mobilization?
- How is the learning from service-learning evaluated?
- What is the appropriate role for the private
sector in service-learning?
- Identifying the opportunities and challenges specific to service-learning programs involving placement of graduate students (with skills relevant to healthcare) in health care organizations (including
- How to identify the appropriate tools and avenues to access resources to evaluate service-learning programs.
- Ethical considerations in service-learning
- How do we stave off the constant pressure for measurement, which can take time away from and too narrowly define what partnerships are about?
- Methods for documenting outcomes.
- How do we garner commitment from universities to really put the time and resources needed into creating partnerships from the ground up?
- Promoting effective community partnerships.
- International service-learning-building partnerships with communities abroad
- Identifying community partners for service-learning