For Community Partners

Dear Community Partner:

Portland State University is offering a coursefor undergraduate juniors entitled Experiential Pathways: Engaging in Social Change.  The course requires student engagement in a community-serving internship or a substantial volunteer experience with a community partner*. Within the context of an equitable partnership, organizations and students will mutually benefit from the experience by meeting course objectivesand by addressing community-identified goals.

Students enrolled in this course will be participating in concurrent online academic coursework taught by PSU faculty, which will serve to enhance their community engagement experience through readings, research, discussion, and critical reflection with fellow students and faculty.

Academic credit is given for both coursework and community learning. Students will be expected to be involved in a community engagement experience for between 4 and eight hours per week. Since the experiential learning component of this course is meant to complement student academic coursework, it is appropriate for community partners to provide students with substantial learning and engagement opportunities.

If participation in this program may benefit your organization, please meet with the student prior to the school term to discuss the general responsibilities the student will be assigned.  Ideally, students will be active participants in the work that is fundamental to the mission of your organization.  Additionally, there will be a more formal Community Partner – Student Agreement forthcoming during the first week of the academic term.

If you have questions, please contact:

Daneen Bergland, Experiential Pathways Instructor:

Jeanne Ellis, PSU Internship Program Coordinator: or 503-725-4964

We welcome your participation!

Warm Regards,

Daneen Bergland


*Community Internship definition for the purpose of this course:

A Community Internship is a form of experiential learning that can take place within a nonprofit, community-serving organization, an educational institution, or governmental agency.  It is a short-term work experience that allows students to integrate the knowledge and theory acquired through their academic coursework with practical, hands-on experience in a real-world setting.  Community Internships are meant to include substantive learning and engagement opportunities and provide the student with an in-depth understanding of the organization and the communities it serves. For the purposes of this course, community internships will be those that work to address specific community issues with their efforts. Community internships may be paid or unpaid, and in either case will be highly educational in nature and supervised or mentored by a professional.

For additional information on internship best practices, liability, and other useful information, please visit the Portland State Internship Program page specially designed for employers and community partners.


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