Community Partners

The community partnership is a key part of service learning. Community partners identity the need and are the link with the community for faculty and students.

The community partner helps to create a real-world experience for students. We ask that community partners provide important guidance and opportunities to maximize the experience for the students as well as for their organization.


Is Service Learning the right partnership for you?

Before beginning a partnership, there are a few questions community partners should consider.

Do I have the capacity to support a service-learning partnership?

A service-learning partnership is intended to be an ongoing collaboration between UConn faculty and their community partner. Frequent communication is expected, along with collaboration on student learning. An ideal partnership also engages community partners in the classroom and honors the wisdom that is held outside of the classroom.

What kind of work would I like students to engage in? 

There are three primary types of service learning: direct; indirect; and civic action, or advocacy. It is wise to consider what type of service you hope students will engage in within your organization. Consideration should be given to the abilities of students, the sustainable nature of the service, and the most immediate needs of your organization.

  1. Direct: Students are in direct contact with people and/or organizations. For example, tutoring for the Boys and Girls Club.
  2. Indirect: Students engage with a cause or a community need through means that do not involve having constant contact with beneficiaries. For example, conducting market research, designing a study, or creating a website.
  3. Civic Action or Advocacy: Students are provided with an opportunity to affect change in public policy. For example, presenting at a town safety meeting or a legislative public hearing.


Adapted from Furco, A. (1996). Service-learning: A balanced approach to experiential education. Expanding boundaries:  Service and Learning. Corporation for National Service.

What questions should you ask a prospective faculty partner?

  • What are the learning outcomes you have for students, and how will our partnership support them?
  • How will service factor into students’ grades? What will messaging look like to students as it relates to their service?
  • What kind of commitment are you willing to make to my organization/program? What could a sustainable, ongoing partnership look like for us?
  • What will resource sharing look like with this partnership?
  • How can I support student learning in this course?
  • What kind of evaluations could we conduct to measure the success of my program and our partnership?


Unsure if service learning is right for your organization?

Please, reach out! We’re happy to answer any questions you have about service learning. If you don’t think service learning is the right fit for you but you’re still interested in hosting UConn students as volunteers, we recommend reaching out to UConn’s Office of Community Outreach. If you’re still interested in working with faculty, but not in a course-based experience, UConn Extension might also be a good fit.


Become a Service Learning Partner

If you would like to become a community service learning partner, fill out our interest form. Please be aware that it can take six months to evaluate your project and match you with a course. In the meantime, we may be able to meet your needs through a student independent study.

Apply Now



Contact Julia Yakovich, director of service learning and engagement initiatives for UConn.

(860) 486-4531


Conceptual model created by the OSL describing the life cycle of a sustainable community-university partnership of Service Learning.