Working with Partners in CE

Working with Community Partners

The experiences students have collaborating with partners in the community are among the greatest possible benefits of civic engagement. Students often find that by working in partnership with non-profit organizations, schools, citizen groups, campaigns, and their peers on campus, their efforts are enriched and magnified. Community partners who work with Pacific students are giving their time and energy to the educational mission of the college, as well as enacting a belief that students make positive contributions to their organizations or efforts.

Collaboration takes many forms, and is not always easy. The MCCE is among one of many offices at Pacific that work with organizations in the community, and we strive for relationships with community partners that are at a minimum mutually beneficial, and at times transformational. We urge students to help us maintain strong positive relationships with community organizations and to act with good character and professionalism as ambassadors for the university.

Mutual Gains and More

Community engagement is an essential part of civic participation.  The McCall Center works toward partnerships that are mutually beneficial for students and community members community organizations, and at times campus organizations. CE projects should address community needs and problems, whether that community is on campus or off. Students and faculty should be able to identify how their work is making a contribution to the individuals, groups, and organizations they work with, and not primarily a self-serving effort—even if that effort generates learning. While many CE projects involve observation, students should also be taking action in some way that is useful to others or works toward some kind of change.

In civic engagement, students can:

  • Deepen their learning through application to experience
  • Feel good about contributing knowledge and skills to work on real problems
  • Experience different organizational contexts
  • Explore different aspects of their future careers
  • Learn more about themselves or challenge themselves personally
  • Expand their horizons and networks

Community partners can:

  • Get assistance on real problems from knowledgeable and skilled college students
  • Shape students’ understanding of how abstract problems and issues manifest locally
  • Expand their network of advocates
  • Open students’ eyes about different professions and at times bring new people to the field
  • Connect to college students’ current learning in the field
  • Develop links with students or faculty that lead to research projects or other future collaborations

Clarify Expectations

When students are working directly with community-based organizations, clarifying everyone’s expectations before undertaking a partnership is essential.

Find out:

  • What is expected of you?
  • Who will be your supervisor and what is that person’s role in the organization?
  • Will your work be closely supervised or will you be more autonomous in your work?
  • What should you wear?
  • How does your supervisor (and others on site) like to be addressed by you, and what is the best way to contact that person (do not assume texting is okay).

Discussing goals and learning objectives for the experience ahead of time can help community supervisors to help you in getting the most out of your experience.

Tips for Students for Working at Community Sites

  • Get involved – treat it like getting a job
  • Learn the policies and procedures of the workplace and for your specific tasks
  • Wear appropriate attire
  • Avoid distractions – cell phones, etc.
  • Keep your commitments
  • Communicate with your partners about your progress, attendance, questions, concerns, etc. 

Tips for Communicating with Community Sites

  • E-mail
    • Use salutations/closes, complete sentences, proper grammar and spelling, every time
    • Compose like a letter, not like a text message
  • Phone
    • Plan what you’re going to say or the key information you need to discuss
    • Know why you’re calling
    • Leave your name and number clearly (and more than once) if you must leave a message. Do leave a message if you have the opportunity.
  • Text message
    • Avoid unless previously agreed upon
    • Office phones do not receive texts
  • Face-to-face
    • Set appointments if necessary
    • Know how long you can wait
    • Be prepared 
  • Social media
    • Use caution: ask before posting anything related to your site experience on social media.

Mandatory Reporting

  • Applies to student employees of the University (work-study or non-work study), receiving a paycheck from Pacific University
  • By state law (as of January 2013), all employees of institutions of higher education are now mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect
    • Applies 24/7, not just on site
    • MUST notify DHS or the police of suspected abuse
    • Applies only to abuse or neglect of minors (under 18)
  • See more details on mandatory reporting

Pacific University is fortunate to have many wonderful partners in the community. The McCall Center works with many organizations directly and our Civic Action team staff will their best to assist students with questions about the organizations in our community. Students who would like to share their experiences with community partners with the McCall Center may contact the director.

Contact Us

The McCall Center for Civic Engagement
Pacific Hall | 503-352-1570 |