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Is Service Learning the right partnership for me?

We’re excited that you’re interested in pursuing a service learning partnership with the University of Connecticut. Service Learning provides an engaging, hands-on learning experience for UConn students, and equips community partners with a motivated and capable group of students and UConn faculty.

Before beginning the service learning partnership process there are a couple of questions community partners should consider.

Do I have the capacity to support a service learning partnership?

A strong service learning partnership is intended to be an ongoing collaboration between UConn Faculty and Community Partners. This means that frequent communication between partners is expected, along with collaboration on student learning. An ideal Service Learning partnership also engages community partners in the classroom, and honors the wisdom that is held outside of the classroom hold.

What kind of work would I like students to engage in? 

Generally, there are three primary types of service learning: Direct, Indirect, and  Civic Action or Advocacy. It is wise to consider what type of service you hope students will engage in within your organization. Consideration should be given to the abilities of students (for example, first-year students or law students), the sustainable nature of the service, and the most immediate needs of your organization.

Direct: Students are in direct contact with people and/or organizations. For example, tutorinHusky Reads Student with Childreng at the Boys and Girls Club.

Indirect: Students engage with a cause or a community need through means that does not involve having constant contact with beneficiaries. For example, a conducting market research project, designing a study, or creating a website.

Civic Action or Advocacy: Students are provided with an opportunity to affect change in public policy. For example, presenting at a Town Safety Meeting, Legislative Public Hearing.

Adapted from Furco, A. (1996). Service-learning: A balanced approach to experiential education. Expanding boundaries:  Service and Learning. Corporation for National Service.

What questions should I ask a prospective faculty partner? 

  • What are the learning outcomes you have for students, and how will our partnership support them?
  • How will service factor into students’ grades? What will messaging look like to students as it relates to their service?
  • What kind of commitment are you willing to make to my organization/program? What could a sustainable, ongoing partnership look like for us?
  • What will resource sharing look like with this partnership?
  • How can I support student learning in this course?
  • What kind of evaluations could we conduct to measure the success of my programs and our partnerships?

Unsure if service learning is right for your organization? 

Please, reach out! We’re happy to answer any questions you have about service learning. If you don’t think service learning is the right fit for you, but you’re still interested in hosting UConn students as volunteers, we recommend reaching out to UConn’s Office of Community Outreach. If you’re still intersted in working with faculty, but not in a course-based experience, UConn Extension might also be a good fit.