These questions explore the variety and nature of your institution’s relationships with community partners.
- If you answered mostly Yes, your institution has established community partnerships to provide support to low-income students. Students may go off campus to receive support, or community partners may come on campus to provide services directly to students. Explore whether any services could be improved with new or expanding community partnerships. Consider performing a gap analysis, using the items on the Self-Assessment to determine whether other internal or external partnerships could be developed or broadened to provide additional services to low-income students.
- If you answered mostly No, your institution has not yet established partnerships with community organizations that can provide services and supports to your low-income students. Next steps are to review which services could be enhanced or provided through partnerships, and to identify community partners best positioned to provide them. Consider which partners may be able to offer multiple services, and which can complement or integrate with existing programs on campus. Consider the range of potential partners, including governmental agencies such as Workforce Boards and Health and Human Services agencies, community- and faith-based organizations, and corporate partners interested in community development and investment. Also consider which campus departments may have or be able to develop partnerships on behalf of the students they serve, including health, accounting, business, and real estate. Once potential partners are identified, develop a plan to reach out to them. This should include such steps as identifying a primary institutional contact, establishing timelines, and identifying and exploring areas for collaboration.
As you reflect upon this section of the Self-Assessment, consider the following questions:
- What needs are you trying to fill by establishing a partnership with an external organization?
- What additional partnerships does your institution need to provide more holistic supports for low-income students?
- What will be the parameters of the relationship between your institution and the partner organization? What will be the specific roles and responsibilities of each party?
- How will you manage the relationship with the partner organization? How will your institution communicate with the organization? With whom will you communicate and how often?
- Will the partner organization have a presence on campus? If so, how often will the organization come to campus? If not, how will students be able to benefit from the organization’s services?
- How will you ensure that low-income students know about the services available to them through this partnership? How will you determine that students are aware of and using the services?
- How will you ensure that faculty and staff know about the services available to low-income students and are able to appropriately direct students to these services?
- How will you track the use of these services, and share data between the institution and partner organization?