The relationship between the faculty member and the community partner is key to the success of any community engagement experience. Communication between faculty and community partners should occur before, during, and after the students' experience.
Community organizations and faculty should have equal voice in the design of the experience. Clear expectations should be laid out for all parties as well as a plan to maintain open and continuous contact throughout the relationship.
Clear communication can proactively avoid problems and resolve issues quickly should they arise. The mode and frequency of communication should be determined prior to service and laid out in the expectations. Emails, phone calls, faculty site visits, or meetings are all acceptable modes of communication.
Faculty may want to conduct a midpoint evaluation to address any issues or concerns and to keep the project on track.
The BN Vitals Dashboard provides a variety of information about McLean County. This information is helpful to better understand the community and identify possible partnerships.
The Center for Civic Engagement conducted a survey of Bloomington-Normal nonprofit organizations in fall 2017 to better understand the relationships and experiences organizations have with Illinois State University as well as to guide future work to grow and formalize the institution's service learning practices. The report provides a summary of that information including the breakdown of social issues addressed by community organizations, ways in which they currently engage with the University and their relationships, needs, and perceptions of partnerships.