On May 29, 2020, the Office of Academic Affairs provided Guidance for Academic Programs Delivered at IUPUI, IUPUC and IU Fort Wayne During AY 2020-21, which provided guidance to academic units on appropriate course formats for the upcoming academic year. This document offers additional guidance for faculty and program directors, who oversee community-based learning experiences involving our students.
Community-based learning is an umbrella term we use to describe a range of experiential learning approaches that can include but are not limited to: community-based work study, service-learning, community service, practica, field-based study and community-engaged participatory research. Community-based learning can occur as part of both the curriculum and co-curriculum, including outreach programs. These guidelines are intended to support professional staff, faculty, and students.
Civic and community engagement are part of IUPUI’s core mission. Our faculty, staff and students are fully committed to advancing this work through inclusive and equitable practices that advance diversity and racial and social justice on our campus and in partnership with our communities. Community organizations and groups play critical co-educational roles in student success. While specific roles vary, it is important that planning activities attend to creating safe, flexible learning and engagement spaces for all.
Faculty and staff administering or facilitating community-based teaching, research and learning with students are asked to complete the following five steps:
1. Read this document in its entirety.
2. Provide a copy of this document, Working with IUPUI Students During COVID-19: Community Partner Guidance, to your community partner(s).
3. Provide a copy of this document, Learning in the Community during COVID-19: Student Guidance, to all students involved in your community engaged project.
4. Complete the Community-based Teaching, Research and Learning Acknowledgement Form – which is available here: https://go.iu.edu/34rw.
5. If your student(s) will be working in the community face-to-face at any
time associated with this project, your student(s) must complete the
"COVID-19 Assumption of Risk and Release from Liability("Agreement")."
Each student should provide the signed form (electronic or printed) to their
IUPUI instructor, mentor, or program director responsible for the
experience. Instructors, mentors and/or program directors can submit these
signed forms to the Institute for Engaged Learning, at email@example.com
- Safety for all is a priority. Integrate community partners into course, project and program planning conversations early. Community partners are considered any entity outside of the university with whom faculty, staff, and students are partnering for the purposes of a community-based course, program, or activity (i.e., non-profit organization, public school system, government entity, neighborhood organization, etc.). Discuss policies of all stakeholder groups for ensuring the safety of all involved. Students with conditions identified by the CDC as posing special health risks are strongly advised not to participate in any community-based experiences at this time.
- Investigate partner capacity for hosting students across mixed formats. Remember that your partners are grappling with technology, capacity and health concerns too. Be sure to discuss specific technology needs of all stakeholders and address any accessibility or capacity issues up front.
- Reinforce the message.
- Develop shared messaging with your partner(s) so that students are receiving a clear, consistent information and guidance.
- Include this information on your syllabus/program overview
- Include a link to the IU Return to Campus Report and communicate specific safety guidelines on your syllabus/website/program overview
- Discuss expectations on the first day of class or as part of project/program orientation
- Create opportunities throughout the semester/program to check-in.
- Be prepared to pivot. Faculty, staff, students, and community partners should be mindful that it may be necessary to move to a fully virtual experience if required by the university or relevant state or local officials.
- Community partners should be vetted and communicated with by the faculty or staff member prior to connecting students for a community-based learning experience. During this time of abundant caution and safety preparedness, it is not advised that faculty/staff allow students to select the community partners with whom they will complete a community-based learning experience. The expectation is that the faculty/staff member leading the course/program will hold a conversation with the partner in order to ensure all stakeholders know, understand, and agree to the established health and safety guidelines.
Service-Learning and Civic Engagement
The guidance offered below assumes that IUPUI faculty and staff who oversee and supervise community-based learning experiences will work with community partners to explore virtual and remote opportunities for our students. When face-to-face interaction is necessary to meet the learning and partnership goals of the experience, every effort should be made to provide a “hybrid option” for students, with a mix of remote/virtual/online work coupled with some face-to-face interactions. The guidance offered below specifically focuses on the face-to-face interactions involving our students in community settings.
- When participating in off-campus service-learning and community engagement experiences, faculty, staff, and students should at all times comply with the safety guidelines concerning social/physical distancing requirements, wearing masks in public locations, and hygiene practices specified in the IU Return to Campus Report - https://fall2020.iu.edu/doc/iu-return-to-campus-guide.pdf. If a community partner has safety guidelines that exceed or supplement those articulated in the IU Restart Report, such as more stringent social distancing requirements, the partner’s guidelines prevail. Faculty members and program directors supervising these learning experiences are advised to include a link to the IU Return to Campus Report and communicate specific safety guidelines to students on the course syllabus and in assignment descriptions related to the experience.
- As part of course planning, faculty, program directors, and community partners should work together to identify and vet the safety guidelines that students will be expected to follow while at the community partner site or while working with or for the community partner. If appropriate, the faculty or program director should provide the community partner with a copy of the IU Restart Report guidelines.
- Faculty, staff, and community partners should work together to explore the possibility of virtual and hybrid experiences for students. Developing opportunities that include virtual engagement in addition to or in lieu of face to face work promotes social and physical distancing and enhances equitable access for students. In these planning conversations, consideration should be given to assessing the human resource burden and technical capacities of community partners and organizations to host, coach and supervise students in online and face-to-face formats. The assessment should balance student learning goals, partner goals with safety for all.
- Faculty and staff offering students a community engagement experience as part of a course must offer all enrolled students the opportunity to complete an alternative assignment in lieu of a direct community-based experience. This alternative assignment should be aligned to the learning outcomes of the course, and students should have the opportunity to complete this alternative assignment remotely/virtually. This is to ensure that students who have certain risk factors for COVID-19, or who may not feel comfortable working in a community setting during the COVID-19 pandemic, have the opportunity to participate in a specific course and meet its learning outcomes while maintaining safety and mitigating risks. If a student requests an alternative assignment, in lieu of a community engagement requirement, the request shall be granted. Faculty and staff may not require or ask students to provide evidence of a risk factor or the need for an alternative assignment.
- Faculty and staff should work together alongside community partners to provide students with the opportunity to alter the format of a community experience if possible or create an alternative assignment option should any party (student, faculty/staff, community partner) express concerns about safety or if the public health situation changes and government mandated closures and shelter in place orders are reinstated. Every attempt should be made to move toward a virtual or remote experience or an alternative assignment so that the student can fulfill the requirements of the experience in a different manner (i.e. receipt of credit, notation on the transcript/Record, etc). If this cannot be achieved, all parties should work toward an equitable and fair solution that is both student-centered and ensures the community partner’s needs can also be met.
- Given the complexity of circumstances, and to insure adherence to campus guidelines, faculty and staff are discouraged from allowing students to find their own partners and organizing projects in the absence of faculty and staff guidance.
- For specific questions related to curricular service-learning and community engagement, please direct questions to Morgan Studer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mary Price (email@example.com).
Community-Engaged Research and Creative Activity
The guidance offered below assumes that IUPUI faculty and staff, who oversee and supervise students research and creative activity in off-campus settings will work with community partners, where applicable, to explore virtual and remote opportunities for our students. This includes research and creative activity that is either community-based [e.g. field-based study] or community-engaged [e.g. collaborative projects conducted in partnership with groups and organizations to achieve mutually beneficial goals].
When face-to-face interaction is necessary to meet the project and partnership goals of the experience, every effort should be made to provide a “hybrid option” for students, with a mix of remote/virtual/online work coupled with some face-to-face interactions. The guidance offered below specifically focuses on the face-to-face interactions associated with these types of research experiences.
- Faculty and staff who are mentoring and supervising students in community-based or community-engaged research & creative activity should follow the guidelines specified on the Indiana University Research Restart Website, https://research.iu.edu/coronavirus/research-restart-guidelines.html, and on the IUPUI research restart website, https://www.iupui.edu/research/corona-restart-guide.html. These websites articulate some specific guidelines for student research. Specific items relevant to community-engaged research include:
- No student—graduate or undergraduate—should be required or pressured to participate in on-campus research during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Undergraduate research that can be conducted remotely, should continue in that format for the foreseeable future. Similarly, parts of research that can be conducted remotely (including orientation, training, mentoring, writing proposals and reports, etc.) should be conducted remotely when possible.
- For field work and other research conducted in facilities under the control of an entity other than IU, researchers must comply with the policies of that third party and with applicable law in that jurisdiction, in addition to the Guidelines posted on IU Research Restart website. Please see the IU Research Restart website for a list of requirements, such as the wearing of masks and/or face coverings and maintaining 6-foot physical separation, among others.