Community Partner Resources

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Non-profit community agencies in the area and Portland Community College (PCC) have formed educational partnerships to seek new and innovative ways to meet student and community needs. PCC students provide valuable service to community partners who, in turn, support students' educational endeavors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Community-Based Learning?

Community-Based Learning is a teaching method that combines course learning objectives, participation in community affairs, and reflection. Faculty members choose to teach with community-based learning assignments that meet the learning objectives of the course through active participation in the community. For more information about the general principles of community-based learning, visit this page.

What will students be doing in a Community-Based Learning Course?

Community-Based Learning looks different depending on the course. Generally, faculty have community-based learning as an option to a more traditional assignment like a term paper. Faculty will assign a specific number of hours students need to fulfill as well as what sort of reflection (journal, short papers, a presentation) that will connect their work with you to the course learning objectives.

What are the benefits to becoming a Community Partner?

  • Provides short-term volunteers to meet community needs.
  • Provides potential long-term volunteers and potential recruits for agency employment.
  • Increases awareness of agency services and social issues within the community.
  • Community-Based Learning initiatives provide the community with substantial human resources to meet its educational, human, safety, and environmental needs. The talent, energy, and enthusiasm of college students are applied to meet these ever increasing needs.
  • Many students commit to a lifetime of volunteering after this experience creating a democracy of participation.
  • Community-Based Learning creates a spirit of civic responsibility that replaces the current state of dependence on government programs and altruism by the experts. It results in a renewed sense of community and encourages participative democracy.
  • Community agencies gain the opportunity to participate in educational partnerships.

How will students choose an organization for their community-based learning projects?

Faculty refer students to particular agencies, or they guide them to the Community Connector, or they ask students to use their own resources to find the agencies where they will serve

How will I know when the student is from PCC and what their assignment is?

Students will bring a PCC Community-Based Learning Agreement form which is designed to clarify expectations, communicate learning objectives, promote safety, and foster communication. Site supervisors should keep a copy in order to contact students and instructors, as needed. The second page of the Agreement outlines guidelines for the constituent community-based learning participants.

Community Connector: Create and Update your Organization's Profile

The Community Connector is the primary tool faculty use to identify potential partner agencies for their CBL course! To be added to this database, fill out your organization's information using the online form. It is important to not only list opportunities for service, but also to list your organization's general needs (ex: marketing, outreach, website, activity leaders, etc...). Your profile will allow Faculty to identify potential projects that address their course content and outcomes. Faculty may also contact you to discuss their ideas and ensure that partnering is a good fit for their students and for your organization. Once your profile is created, we encourage you to review it every 3 months to keep it up to date.

Current Partners - Select your organization from the drop down list and update your posting.

New Partners - After filling out the online form, the CBL Coordinator will schedule a site visit before approving your profile. In the mean time, we encourage you to utilize the Volunteer Opportunities Newsletter. You can submit an announcement online at any time.

Steps for New and Interested Partners

Create a Profile in our Community Connector

Fill out your organization's information using this online form. It is important to not only list opportunities for service, but also to list your organization's general needs (ex: marketing, outreach, website, activity leaders, etc...). Your profile will allow Faculty to identify potential projects that address their course content and outcomes. Faculty may also contact you to discuss their ideas and ensure that partnering is a good fit for their students and for your organization. Once your profile is created, we encourage you to review it every 3 months to keep it up to date.

Arrange a Site Visit with the CBL Coordinator

Contact the Community-Based Learning Coordinator to set up a site visit. Site visits are an opportunity for our program staff to learn more about your organization and discuss collaboration opportunities through the courses and academic programs offered here at PCC.

Criteria for PCC Community-Based Learning Community Partners

PCC Community-Based Learning Community Partners must meet and agree to the following criteria:

  1. Be a non-profit or public agency serving community needs.
  2. Be located near PCC campuses and throughout the PCC district (including Multnomah County west of 205, Washington County, Columbia County, parts of Yamhill County, and Lake Oswego).
  3. Provide volunteer positions that foster learning objectives.
  4. Incorporate risk-management procedures for injury prevention and liability reduction.
  5. Accept volunteers for one quarter (up to ten weeks), with the possibility of continuation beyond the quarter. (Note: Instructors assign varying minimum hours for the quarter, ranging from about 5 to 20 total hours.)
  6. Have a responsible contact person who will:
    • Respond quickly to student inquiries.
    • Let students know quickly whether they are accepted.
    • Place students in positions matching educational objectives.
    • Ensure that students are oriented, trained, and supervised.
    • Communicate with students and/or PCC instructors about problems and successes.
    • Follow the guidelines on the PCC Community-Based Learning Agreement.
  7. Interested in promoting students’ academic learning, volunteerism, and civic engagement.
  8. Understand the disclaimer we provide to our PCC community.

Community-Based Learning Community Partner Tool Kit

General Principles of Community-Based Learning Working with Community-Based Learning Students Volunteer Opportunities Newsletter
Working with Faculty and the Academic Calendar

Orienting Students to Your Organization

Additional PCC Resources for Community Partners