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Document Type

Article

Abstract

Research suggests that application of theoretical perspectives, specific program principles and components, and various institutional models of service learning, can positively affect persistence and completion for college students. Academic community engagement provides such an application, as well as a vehicle for professional interaction between community partners and faculty members, and is the theme for our university-wide quality enhancement plan (QEP). This paper describes our QEP roadmap from conception through the first four years of our five-year initiative, detailing the work done to align with the university’s strategic goals; incorporate flexibility, coordination, and partnerships; ensure authentic projects that benefit community partners and students (traditional and non-traditional); and assess impacts on the institution, students, and community. We describe various types of community partnerships and provide specific examples of lower-level and upper-level undergraduate courses designed and delivered, in a variety of academic programs and disciplines, as well as lessons learned from our experiences.

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