The following is a list of suggestions from current and past Community Partners that hopefully will guide you to success.
- Be selective on where you place students. They should be working in appropriate areas to meet course requirements as well as agency needs. Making sure that everyone's needs are satisfied as much as possible will save headaches later on.
- Remember that you can require more than two hours a week (for training sessions, reflections, service, etc.) or more intense training if these extra requirements are clearly communicated before students sign up for service.
- You might institute an observation for the first day of service--after the site orientation--to help students feel more comfortable starting service.
- Spend time at the beginning of the semester giving background information to students so they will be better equipped to deal with situations that may arise.
- Invite students to sit in on staff meetings when possible.
- Suggest additional resources to service learners (books, articles, etc.) related to your site and their experiences.
- Hold debriefing sessions/exit interviews at the end of the semester to talk about what has happened. (It was suggested that this take the place of service on the final day, but it could also work as a separate meeting.) This could be a more in-depth final reflection time.
We hope that you'll find these ideas useful. As time goes by, you will discover creative ways to make this collaboration work best at your site. Whatever you do to increase the academic benefits to our students will be much appreciated, and we welcome your feedback. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, please contact Tyanna McLaurin, Assistant Director of the Marquette Service Learning Program.