This study grew out of a conversation among service-learning practitioners at a retreat hosted by California Campus Compact. “What do our community partners think about service-learning? We think they are benefiting, but how do we know? Why do they choose to partner with us in the first place?” While reciprocity of benefits for the community has long been an intended hallmark of service-learning practice (Ferrari & Chapman, 1999; Honnet & Poulsen, 1989; Keith, 1998; Sigmon, 1979, Waterman, 1997), service-learning practitioners often do not know if, when and how this is achieved. To help its member campuses begin to answer these questions, California Campus Compact collaborated with four individuals who are deeply familiar with service-learning theory and practice and had experience in focus group facilitation to implement a process to better understand the diverse perspectives of long-term community partners collaborating with institutions of higher education, and to identify their recommendations to strengthen well-established community-campus partnerships. This report highlights the results of this study and emphasizes the community partner members’ voices through some of the direct quotations that helped lead us to these thematic interpretations. The number of quotations adds to the density of the text, but we felt that this was important to include, as it has not been commonplace for us in higher education to hear community partner perspectives in their own words. We felt that in most instances, community partners “said more than we can say,” and we invite you, the reader, to join us in discovery through the interpretation of these voices.
Sandy, Marie, "Community Voices: A California Campus Compact Study on Partnerships (Final Report)" (2007). Higher Education. 143.