As a UMF faculty or staff member, you play a critical role in encouraging and facilitating community engagement for UMF students – and many of you are already doing so!
UMF’s Partnership for Civic Advancement supports community engagement activities that achieve both student learning and community development objectives. We collaborate with UMF faculty and staff members to:
- help you connect with appropriate community sponsors (local organizations and businesses),
- help design and implement effective community-based work experiences that are meaningful and valuable learning experiences for your students, and
- evaluate both learning and community development outcomes achieved through these experiences.
Why get involved?
UMF faculty and staff members are already committed to very busy agendas, so why take on the “extra” burden of linking students with community-based activities?
Service to community: Community service is integral to UMF’s mission as a public liberal arts institution. Faculty and staff members represent the institution’s “front line” in delivering on this commitment.
Service to students: Also central to UMF’s institutional mission is preparing students for their future roles as productive workers and contributing citizens. Experiential learning achieved through community engagement activities (such as internships, undergraduate research, volunteerism, service learning and leadership education and training) represents an increasingly essential component of that preparation to ensure that our students are appropriately prepared for the world they will enter after graduation – as productive workers and as contributing citizens.
The Partnership is committed to addressing “high priority” community needs and challenges. How will you know whether a particular engagement meets that condition? The Partnership tracks a range of community processes that prioritize sustainable development needs and goals. Please consult our “Priority Areas” page to see current interest areas.
At its core, the Partnership’ purpose is to expand learning opportunities for UMF students. To that end, we hope that you will assist your students in recognizing and appreciating the ways in which community engagement experiences can relate to and expand upon their academic work. How can community projects offer an opportunity to test ideas or try out skills they have learned in class? How can students be encouraged to bring what they have learned in the community back into the academic realm? Different forms of student engagement (See “Definitions”) will offer different opportunities for academic linkage and integration.
Whatever the form student engagement takes, the Partnership encourages all parties (students, faculty, staff, and community sponsors) to consider and articulate desired outcomes, provide for appropriate student support before and during a community engagement, and to ensure some level of evaluation of and reflection on the experience at its conclusion. (For a more detailed statement of roles and responsibilities, please review the “Agreement Form“.)
- Documentation of high priority community need.
- Providing “work ready” orientation and training for students.
- Organizing mentoring for students by faculty members and community sponsors.
- Providing evaluation protocols for both student learning and community impact outcomes.
- Developing contracts among students, faculty members, and community sponsors that clearly define roles, responsibilities, work parameters, and desired outcomes.
Students may wish to seek academic credit for their community-based work. Award of academic credit remains entirely the purview of the faculty, with each department retaining its own standards and guidelines in this regard. Students are advised to engage faculty assistance early on in planning community engagement activities, particularly if they are interested in receiving academic credit for their community-based work.
Note: Students are required to pay UMF for credits received through community service at the normal per credit hour rate.
Financial Compensation for Students
Students may seek financial compensation for their community-based work. While acknowledging the important contribution community sponsors are making to the UMF educational experience for our students, the Partnership strongly encourages all community sponsors to consider making appropriate compensation available to their student workers. UMF expects all community partners to operate in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act relating to compensation for student placements with for-profit businesses.
The Partnership for Civic Advancement can assist your students in determining their eligibility for and exploring possible sources of financial assistance to help support their unpaid community-based work activities, and has funding available specifically for awards and stipends for students who are engaged through the Partnership in community-based activities and projects (See Scholarships & Stipends for more information).
In addition to awards and stipends through the Partnership, UMF offers a variety of student compensation options and the Partnership encourages students to consult with the UMF Financial Aid Office to determine eligibility for scholarships, stipends, and work-study programs as these may support community-based work activities.
Financial Compensation for Faculty and Staff
The Partnership understands and appreciates the additional responsibility and work community engagement projects may represent for UMF faculty and staff members. Accordingly, we engage in fundraising efforts in order to be able to offer some measure of financial support to faculty and staff members who provide this service in instances where compensation is appropriate or required.
The Partnership offers other forms of assistance to UMF faculty and staff to help them better support student engagement in community-based sustainable development activities. A program of professional development activities is in development, and we would welcome suggestions from faculty and staff members as they may experience or identify specific needs in this regard.