Steps to becoming a Service Learning Partner Agency with Gavilan College
Welcome to a wonderful and fascinating process! We’d love to work with you! Here are the usual steps to take in signing on as a partner agency:
- Study written materials on what kinds of projects work best for students, and on Agency Best Practices.
- Meet with a college Service Learning facilitator to get any questions answered and to discuss specific needs and requirements. A webpage will be created based on your agency’s mission and needs so students can “shop” for an agency that fits for them.
- Present the possibilities to your agency board, staff, and/or clients, as appropriate. Invite a Gavilan College facilitator to attend if appropriate. Discuss which agency goals, objectives, and programs could be best served by students, and how. Discuss scheduling and space limitations, legal issues such as liability and safety, and any risk factors. Agree how many students can be accomodated at your agency, and discuss “hiring” procedures and criteria. Decide who will coordinate student placements, and how.
- Have your agency’s legal counsel review the college’s Service Learning Plan and Service Learning Agreement.
- Identify specific, limited projects or opportunities for student-client dialogue or significant short-term projects. In August or January, communicate to college staff all necessary information for the college website listing, where many students will “shop” for and choose a placement agency.
- Identify a contact person who will be available to return student phone calls and/or emails in September and February, and who can facilitate interviewing and placement at your agency.
- Ask the college staff to do an in-house training on how to design great service learning projects. Best times for these are summer and January to prepare for upcoming semesters. If this is not practical, meet with any faculty who wish to work with your agency to understand how the students will be using their Service experience in class work.
- Be as prompt as possible in communicating problems or concerns to faculty you are working with. Be prompt in returning evaluation and timesheets.
- Most of all, BE IN TOUCH! Faculty want to set up long-term relationships with agency partners, so communication is a must.