Establishing Strong Partnerships

Best Practices for Establishing Positive Community Partnerships


  • Research the agency history, mission and related social issues before making contact.
  • Meet agency representatives at their office whenever possible.
  • When inviting community partners to campus, arrange reserved on-campus parking for them at least 24 hours in advance through the following site:
  • Visit the agency or service site to note details on location, transportation, and parking that will be pertinent to your students.
  • Ask the agency how what you have to offer might be useful to them. It is a significant role reversal to put you in the position of learner with the community partner as the expert and teacher.
  • Learn about the assets of the agency and its clientele. Explore their capacities and abilities and relate this to your students. Reciprocity is integral to the discipline of service-learning.
  • Involve the community partner in the planning of your service-learning project.
  • Be open to indirect service projects. Consider how you can help students see the value of service that provides support to community with little direct contact.
  • Take care to "do no harm." The community and the clientele are not a teaching or research laboratory. The notion of community as laboratory assumes a false hierarchy of power and perpetuates an attitude of institutional superiority.
  • Basic goals of service-learning include community development and empowerment. For these goals to be realized, faculty and community must be equal partners.
  • Invite community partners to be a part of reflections, presentations, awards ceremonies and related activities.


The following resources are available to help you select your community partner:

  • The CCELL director (225-578-9264) or assistant director (225-578-4245)
  • A list of CCELL – affiliated agencies is available by request from CCELL.
  • Once you have selected your community partner, agencies may be directed to the Community Resources section on this website.