Involvement with community organizations can unquestionably provide rich learning experiences for students, and opportunities for faculty and staff to develop projects that advance professional practice and scholarship, while providing service of value to the community. Entering into a partnership with a community organization, however, represents a commitment on the part of the HKUST faculty, staff, and students involved, and should be undertaken thoughtfully to ensure that the relationship is built on trust and mutual respect.
The following principles of good practice are drawn from a wide body of research on service learning and community engagement and are intended to provide faculty, staff and students with guidelines for developing authentic partnerships with community organizations, and for effectively integrating the learning from community experience into students’ academic and personal development.
Develop collaborative relationships with community partners:
The relationship between HKUST participants and community partners provides the foundation for mutually beneficial outcomes. Thoughtful selection of partners and intentional development of the relationship, over a long term, if possible, will provide the basis for student learning and positive contributions to the partner. Basic principles include:
Prepare students to enter the community experience with sensitivity and openness :
Experience in a community organization can be enlightening—sometimes transformative—for students, but can also be confusing and disorienting if they approach it unprepared. Likewise, students who go into a community experience with an attitude of superiority or insensitivity to community members communicate a lack of respect and are less likely to learn from the experience. Intentional preparation of students and provision of ongoing opportunities for reflection ensure the greatest learning and most effective service. Basic principles include:
Many institutions have developed their own guiding principles of best practice. Links to several of these are provided below:
Principles of Ethical and Effective Service
Developed by the staff of the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University through a collaborative process involving faculty, students, staff and community partners, this document includes examples and reflection questions.
10 Principles of Good Service-Learning Pedagogical Practice
This set of principles was developed by Jeffrey Howard, Former Associate Director for Service-Learning at the Ginsberg Center for Public Service at the University of Michigan.
Principles of Good Practices
Developed by the Center for Service and Community Engagement at Seattle University, these principles for academic service learning include guidelines for faculty engagement with community partners.