In April 2016, the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good administered its third biennial survey regarding community partners’ use of USF and McCarthy Center resources and their general perceptions of the University (including the institution as a whole, as well as students and faculty) and its role in the community. Our intent is to survey data to shape our work with community and make recommendations across campus about implementing best practices in community partnerships. More specifically, results of this survey will be used to inform the resources and services we provide, ensure that the community partner voice is reflected in our work, and advocate for more effective community-engaged programming at USF.
Looking at how to make our outreach efforts and community partnerships more impactful we look to the feedback from our community partners to help guide us to improve in the years coming. Community-Engaged Learning Program Manager, Fernando Enciso-Márquez says, “Our Community Partner survey helps us understand the reciprocal nature of our community partnerships, and allows us to identify additional ways we can shape our collaboration with local nonprofit agencies.” Participants shared feedback and perceptions of a variety of aspects from communication, completing special projects ,strengthening organizational relationships with USF, and student preparation to engage in the community.
Most community partners feel that students exhibit professionalism on-site (80% of respondents), demonstrate cultural humility (89% of respondents), and are motivated to engage with their host organization throughout the semester (80% of respondents). Community partners also expressed that students always or usually complete the tasks expected of them, with high agency satisfaction on student service deliverables.
Feedback of the attitudes our Community Partners have about working with students:
- 100% find long-term student volunteers to be very or somewhat beneficial
- 100% find short-term (6 months or less) interns to be very or somewhat beneficial
Community partners were also invited to share their perceptions of the University and the McCarthy Center based on their partnership experiences.
Respondents feel that the University at large supports organizational needs of community partners, acts as a member of the larger San Francisco community, and helps students to explore the social issues addressed by the host organization. Focusing on the McCarthy Center specifically, respondents expressed that the Center is supportive in building faculty partnerships (74% of respondents), and provides helpful partnership information and resources (83% of respondents). Community partners also feel that the McCarthy Center cares about the outcomes of student engagement on the host community and clients, and consider our office to be an active member of the San Francisco community (88% of respondents).
Other Community Partner feedback:
- “We greatly appreciate the opportunity to work closely with the McCarthy Center and value the work of our Advocates for Community Engagement; they play a vital role in supporting our work and mission!”
- “We have been very impressed with the quality of students we have worked with (which is not always the case with students from other schools!)”