Goals and Expectations

At the outset of a partnership with a Georgia Tech course, work with your faculty partner to define clear engagement and learning goals and outline responsibilities for all involved. Discuss your expectations for the project and plan a time to engage in a class orientation with your faculty partner.

Putting It in Writing: Collaboration Agreements

Should I have a verbal or written agreement with my SLCE partner about expectations?

We recommend that you set aside time to establish mutual understandings; below you’ll find a conversation guide/worksheet and an agreement template to use in your initial meeting with your faculty partner. Please do email Ruthie Yow, Service Learning and Partnerships Specialists, if you have any questions about or would like assistance with the document.

Strategies for Navigating Conflict

Challenges will undoubtedly arise. In fact, they are often a natural and healthy part of the process of building authentic relationships, which are integral to community-university partnerships. At times, unforeseen challenges will come up quickly and unexpectedly. To successfully manage conflict, please be in close touch with your faculty partners, remain flexible, and view the process of conflict resolution as an opportunity for growth and learning.

Checklist for planning for and working through conflict:

First, recognize that conflict is:

  • Normal, and while uncomfortable, often an important part of collaborative processes.
  • Often caused by and exacerbated by differences in communication style and approach.
  • Very common in community engagement as power, privilege, and different cultural and class-based norms of communicating and working come into play.
  • Not always due to a deeply rooted problem and may be about resolving miscommunication or mismatched expectations.

To deal with challenges:

  • Depending on the situation, consider adding in a relevant training (for example, differences in communication or work styles; conflict management or on non-violent communication—see guide to Conflict Resolution. See also our Cross-Cultural Communication tool).
  • Create a safe space to share issues participants may experience or communication challenges.
  • Model talking about issues you have had in similar circumstances.
  • Use reflection assignments to bring up points of tension or difficulties and facilitate dialogue around them.
  • Make clear the mechanisms students and partners can use to resolve conflict.
  • Encourage perspective taking.

Putting it in Writing (Faculty-Partner): Scope of Work

The Scope of Work template is intended to aid a faculty member and a course partner in more finely articulating their expectations, project plan, goals, and timeline. We recommend it be used in tandem with the collaboration agreement, which is a useful tool for laying the foundations of a new partnership.

Visit our Project Execution page for additional suggestions about discussing safety and project reflection with students.