The UMF Partnership for Civic Engagement supports student engagement in community-based activities in western Maine and beyond that are designed to be mutually beneficial to UMF students, our community partners, and the communities served.
The Partnership offers its services to all students, faculty and staff, and community members who are interested in supporting student engagement in internships, volunteering, leadership, service learning, and research.

Community Partners

Community sponsors may want to engage with UMF students for a variety of reasons.

Increased capacity to do a project:  Community sponsor “A” has a need for a natural features survey to support a land conservation initiative, but has neither the time to do it themselves nor the wherewithal to hire it done.  UMF students, with guidance from a faculty member and oversight from the sponsor, undertake the survey.  The Sponsor is then able to uses the survey to secure required funding to implement the initiative.

Access to new ideas and technologies:  Community sponsor “B” wants to use “social media” to help build consumer interest in a new product line.  A UMF intern helps to develop a social dimension for the sponsor’s promotional campaign using Facebook and Twitter to reach a whole new set of potential customers.
Introduction to and training for future employees:  Community sponsor “C” takes on a UMF intern who, two years after graduation, returns to run the department they had interned for as an undergraduate.

Structure
Undergraduate community engagement activities can take many forms.  The Partnership can help you decide on the most appropriate community engagement format for your project.
Whatever the form student engagement takes, the Partnership encourages all parties (students, community sponsors and faculty and staff when these are involved) to consider and articulate desired community impact and learning outcomes, provide for appropriate student support before, during, and following a community engagement experience, and ensure some level of evaluation of and student reflection on the experience.

If you already have a project in mind and have a clear description of the work you would like a UMF student (or students) to do, you may want to post your project on UMF Career Link Job Board.  To begin the process, simply complete the online Community Request Form below to submit your internship project to us.

To further develop a job description for the work you would like to get done, and to gain a greater understanding of community sponsor roles and responsibilities, we encourage you to take a look at the Partnership’s Agreement Form.  Reviewing the form will help you to design your work project in a way that will serve both you and UMF students well.
Once you have a project defined, the Partnership can assist you in connecting with appropriate UMF students and potentially with faculty and/or staff members, should their assistance be required.  Additionally, the Partnership can help support student engagement activities in the following ways:
• Providing “work ready” orientation and training for students.
• Organizing mentoring for students by faculty members and community sponsors.
• Developing evaluation protocols for both student learning and community impact outcomes.
• Developing contracts among students, faculty members, and community sponsors which clearly outline role definitions, work parameters, and desired outcomes.

Timing is Everything (well not quite everything – but very important!)
Community sponsors should be aware of the UMF academic calendar.  The time frame for student engagement will be dictated to some extent by this calendar.  Again, the Partnership can assist you in planning student engagement in your project to help match your project timeline with potential student availability.
In some cases, though not all, student engagement activities should be planned well in advance.  This is especially true with respect to activities for which students are seeking academic credit or financial compensation through UMF.  Again, the Partnership can help both the community sponsor and students determine appropriate timing and process in developing the engagement activity.
Academic Credit
Students may seek academic credit for their community-based work.  Award of academic credit remains entirely the purview of the faculty, with each department retaining its own standards and guidelines in this regard.  Students are being advised to engage faculty assistance early on in planning community engagement activities, particularly if they are interested in receiving academic credit for their community-based work.  (Note:  Students are required to pay for any academic credits they receive through community-based work or service at the normal per credit hour rate.)
Financial Compensation
Community sponsors are encouraged to consider providing financial compensation to UMF students who provide them with specific work services.  While it is understood that community sponsors are offering students learning opportunities of real value, students are highly appreciative of efforts to provide a financial reward for service.   (Note: Federal law is precise with respect to conditions allowing unpaid internships with for-profit private businesses.  Please refer to the Department of Labor fact sheet for specifics.
The Partnership offers a variety of financial assistance options to help support students engaged in Partnership activities.  Students are encouraged to consult with the UMF Financial Aid Office to determine eligibility for scholarships, stipends, and work-study programs, as these may support community-based work activities.  The Partnership may be able to help students identify other sources of compensation sufficient to support their community-based activities.

Community Request Form
Period of engagement *

Faculty and Staff

As a UMF faculty or staff member, you play a critical role in encouraging and facilitating community engagement for UMF students – and many of you are already doing so!
UMF’s Partnership for Civic Engagement supports community engagement activities that achieve both student learning and community development objectives.  We collaborate with UMF faculty and staff members to:
• help you connect with appropriate community sponsors (local organizations and businesses),
• help design and implement effective community-based work experiences that are meaningful and valuable learning experiences for your students, and
• evaluate both learning and community development outcomes achieved through these experiences.

UMF faculty and staff members are already committed to very busy agendas, so why take on the “extra” burden of linking students with community-based activities?
Service to community:  Community service is integral to UMF’s mission as a public liberal arts institution.  Faculty and staff members represent the institution’s “front line” in delivering on this commitment.

Service to students:  Also central to UMF’s institutional mission is preparing students for their future roles as productive workers and contributing citizens.  Experiential learning achieved through community engagement activities (such as internships, undergraduate research, volunteerism, service learning and leadership education and training) represents an increasingly essential component of that preparation to ensure that our students are appropriately prepared for the world they will enter after graduation – as productive workers and as contributing citizens.
The Partnership is committed to addressing “high priority” community needs and challenges.  How will you know whether a particular engagement meets that condition?  The Partnership tracks a range of community processes that prioritize sustainable development needs and goals.  Please consult our “About” page to see current interest areas.
At its core, the Partnership’ purpose is to expand learning opportunities for UMF students.  To that end, we hope that you will assist your students in recognizing and appreciating the ways in which community engagement experiences can relate to and expand upon their academic work.  How can community projects offer an opportunity to test ideas or try out skills they have learned in class?  How can students be encouraged to bring what they have learned in the community back into the academic realm?  Different forms of student engagement will offer different opportunities for academic linkage and integration.

Structure
Whatever the form student engagement takes, the Partnership encourages all parties (students, faculty, staff, and community sponsors) to consider and articulate desired outcomes, provide for appropriate student support before and during a community engagement, and to ensure some level of evaluation of and reflection on the experience at its conclusion.   (For a more detailed statement of roles and responsibilities, please review the “Agreement Form”.)
The Partnership can help support community engagement activities in the following ways:
• Documentation of high priority community need.
• Providing “work ready” orientation and training for students.
• Organizing mentoring for students by faculty members and community sponsors.
• Providing evaluation protocols for both student learning and community impact outcomes.
• Developing contracts among students, faculty members, and community sponsors that clearly define roles, responsibilities, work parameters, and desired outcomes.
Academic Credit
Students may wish to seek academic credit for their community-based work.  Award of academic credit remains entirely the purview of the faculty, with each department retaining its own standards and guidelines in this regard.  Students are advised to engage faculty assistance early on in planning community engagement activities, particularly if they are interested in receiving academic credit for their community-based work.
Note:  Students are required to pay UMF for credits received through community service at the normal per credit hour rate.
Financial Compensation for Students
Students may seek financial compensation for their community-based work.  While acknowledging the important contribution community sponsors are making to the UMF educational experience for our students, the Partnership strongly encourages all community sponsors to consider making appropriate compensation available to their student workers.  UMF expects all community partners to operate in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act relating to compensation for student placements with for-profit businesses.
The Partnership for Civic Engagement can assist your students in determining their eligibility for and exploring possible sources of financial assistance to help support their  unpaid community-based work activities, and has funding available specifically for awards and stipends for students who are engaged through the Partnership in community-based activities and projects (See Scholarships & Stipends for more information).
In addition to awards and stipends through the Partnership, UMF offers a variety of student compensation options and the Partnership encourages students to consult with the UMF Financial Aid Office to determine eligibility for scholarships, stipends, and work-study programs as these may support community-based work activities.
Financial Compensation for Faculty and Staff
The Partnership understands and appreciates the additional responsibility and work community engagement projects may represent for UMF faculty and staff members.  Accordingly, we engage in fundraising efforts in order to be able to offer some measure of financial support to faculty and staff members who provide this service in instances where compensation is appropriate or required.
Other Support
The Partnership offers other forms of assistance to UMF faculty and staff to help them better support student engagement in community-based sustainable development activities.  A program of professional development activities is in development, and we would welcome suggestions from faculty and staff members as they may experience or identify specific needs in this regard.

Contact Partnership Staff

Meghan Price, Internship Coordinator
Telephone: 207-778-7516
Email: meghan.price@maine.edu

Kirsten Swan,  Director of Student Leadership & Service
Telephone: 207-778-7593
Email: kswan@maine.edu