At Goodman, our students provide over $500,000 of free service to the community through our Service Learning opportunities.
Service-Learning Community Partners
Service-Learning Community Partners are critical links connecting the chain of learning for students. Students gain practical experience applying the skills and knowledge from their course content to their service-learning project. The students don’t just study a real world problem put forward by our partners, they provide tangible solutions. 99% of our community partners report that the service-learning outcomes were “worth the time and effort” they put forth.
Service-Learning in the Goodman School of Business at Brock is “project based”. Students work as “consultants” to their community partner. This is not a “co-op” or “placement” as in the traditional experiential learning models. Students rarely work on site at the organization but rather meet with a representative of the organization and gather the information they need to produce a solution to the challenge. There are agreed upon deliverables and timelines for each project.
There is no fee to become a service-learning community partner. Students receive course credit for their work. But for community partners that are remote from campus, either transportation compensation or a willingness on the part of the partner’s representative to travel to campus to meet with the team improves the chances that a project will be selected by a student team.
Community Partners Welcome
The most important commitment that the partner organization has to make is around flexibility and promptness. The service-learning projects are all linked to courses that generally take place over 3 months and these projects are typically worth 20% -40% of the student’s overall course mark. This is a very short time frame given the projects usually start after the students have covered some of the theory in class.
Timeliness for information transfer is critical to project success. As the students work in teams and have varied schedules to plan around, we ask that community partners be very flexible about meeting times. Timely communication is necessary given the tight timelines student teams have to complete the project.
Most projects use the process outline:
- During an initial start up meeting goals and timelines are set up
- Exchanges of information are usually continued by email
- A meeting is set for the half way point to ensure the project is on track
- A final presentation is made either in the classroom or at the partner organization
- Projects are largely delivered in an electronic format to community partners at the end of the term
Any non-profit organization in the Niagara Region is eligible to apply for a student team. Any small (10 or fewer employees) business in Niagara Region is eligible to apply for a student team. Since Service-Learning is linked to courses with specific learning goals for the students, organizations can read the Request for Partnership (RFP) and respond as directed to those that fit their needs and timing.
The students generally choose from a list of potential projects selecting the one that appeals to them. Often there are more requests than teams but we do our best accommodate as many requests as possible.