Forming Community Partnerships

Community partnerships are an essential component of both Community Based Learning (in-class group projects where the partner visits the class) and Community Service Learning (individual or group placements with community organizations). Community partnerships, like any relationship, are built on time, trust, and experience. Therefore, where possible, when using CBL or CSL, the goal should be to foster an ongoing, reciprocal partnership. A long-term collaboration will yield tremendous results, as each year you and your partner are able to improve on the student experience.

When establishing a relationship with a community organization, especially for the purposes of CSL, several key factors must be taken into account. These include:

  • Your pre-existing relationship with the organization
  • The productive overlap between course content and the work the students will do for the organization
  • The location of the organization or work site
  • The relevant legal procedures required when working with the organization

For help in connecting with a community organization and designing a project, you are encouraged to contact your experiential education coordinator, the York-TD Community Engagement Center (for the Jane-Finch/Black Creek area), and/or Knowledge Mobilization (for graduate-level partnerships, community-based research, or placements in the York region). Other ways to find community partners are:

  • Direct Contact: Word of mouth
  • Contacting your existing networks
  • Attending local fairs, conferences, and other public events related to the field/course theme
  • Contacting the York-TD University Community Engagement Center (for partnerships in the Jane-Finch/Black Creek area)