Community partners are an essential component of the service-learning experience. Below we have provided a series of guidelines to help assist you with creating an effective experience for our students. Please review them as they are an important component to the academic service-learning program at Keene State College.

Provide a structured experience.
It is important to provide focused projects with visible outcomes in order to keep students on track, interested, and motivated. A mutually agreed upon schedule of regular hours and/or meeting times will help provide structure. Academic service-learning positions must be designed to fit within the 14 week academic semester. Additionally, the required hours for service vary from class to class, so make sure you have spoken with the instructor about specific requirements.

Provide a supervisor to guide and evaluate the student.
Students will need to receive an orientation as well as any additional training your agency may feel is necessary. The orientation should familiarize the students with the mission of the organization, the space, the people, and safety issues related to the position. This orientation is the students’ first substantive contact with your organization and will set the tone for the academic service-learning experience.

Respond to student questions and concerns.
Students need to get started with their placement as soon as possible, due to having only about 10 weeks of time to work at your site. Responding to students’ inquiries will help alleviate problems for students getting started. Please notify the instructor of the student with any concerns or changes as they arise. Also, if you need any additional help please contact BeccaBerkey, Coordinator of Experiential Education.

Provide verification of hours and evaluation of student performance.  
Throughout the semester, the students will be asked to track the hours they have served. Tracking can be done in many ways, but having a sign-in sheet for students can be a helpful tool to refer to at the end of the semester when evaluations are due. Finally, please submit an evaluation for each student at the end of the semester including each student’s final hour’s count. Verification of service hours completed and the feedback offered through the evaluation are vital to the student’s success in their service-learning course. Please refer to the forms section under the Community Partner tab for information regarding evaluations (unless the instructor has provided you with his/her own documents).

Adapted from: Center for Service and Community Engagement at Seattle University.

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