Schulz Information Center

“Faculty play as key a role in community partnerships as they do in student learning.” 1
—Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly

SSU faculty member

How to Develop Community Partnerships

Thank you for your interest in developing a community partnership. Your partnership is crucial to the success of your community engagement. The CCE can help SSU faculty identify community partners and facilitate relationship development. Whether you're just starting out, are interested in exploring new opportunities or are having challenges with your collaboration, we can help. We host regular opportunities to meet community partners and can make personal recommendations based on your class's learning goals, your own scholarship, and your community service. Contact us for more information or to set up a consultation.

Research shows that the quality of the faculty experience, student learning outcomes and impact on community partners is greatly influenced by the crucial relationship between faculty and community partners. Simply stated, that relationship is the lynch pin of all community engagement.

For example, one study showed that delegated partnerships – those with coordinators who focused exclusively on coordination and played no role in program participation – are likely to produce pre-defined outcomes, while undelegated partnerships are likely to produce co-defined outcomes (outcomes defined by, and tailored to the needs of, both partners).1

Tips for Developing Excellent Community Partnerships

  • To develop real, strong multi-faceted partnerships (and avoid logistical nightmares), work with as few organizations as possible. Perhaps there's one you're already involved with
  • Communicate with your community partner about changes and remember to solicit feedback
  • Connect your service-learning community partnerships and work to your scholarship and service
  • Advocate for your community partner on campus. Connect your community partners with other faculty members as appropriate
  • Bring community partners to class as part of preparation for service
  • Students should thank community partners for what they learned at the end of the semester
  • Be honest about your and your class's limitations
  • Bring community partners to class as part of preparation for service
  • Students should thank community partners for what they learned at the end of the semester
  • Be honest about your and your class's limitations

1Delegation of coordination and outcomes in cross-sector partnerships: The case of service learning partnerships by Dwight E. Giles Jr., Silvia Dorado, Theodora C. Welch. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 2009Opens in new tab.available in the CCE Resource Library.Opens in new tab. Please contact us to view.