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ERIC Number: EJ949754
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 1
ISSN: ISSN-1041-6099
Community Outreach: Assessment and Program Planning for Off-Campus Students
Massey, Jennifer; Gouthro, Karla
Assessment Update, v23 n1 p6-8 Jan-Feb 2011
The Community Outreach Centre (COC) is part of the Community Development portfolio in the Division of Student Affairs at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. It opened in fall 2007 as a resource and support centre for students who live off campus. The overarching goal of the centre is to cultivate community among off-campus students and community members. This involves establishing and supporting activities that nurture community involvement, civic engagement, and responsible citizenship. The centre is managed by the community outreach coordinator, who works with a team of part-time student staff. Student staff receive ongoing training from various student affairs professionals with expertise in a number of pertinent areas including cultural sensitivity, mental health awareness, and substance abuse. They provide mentoring, offer support and referral to on- and off-campus student services, organize educational programming and social activities intended to foster meaningful relationship building, and promote community responsibility. Student-staff develop partnerships with campus and local organizations to offer opportunities that nurture student leadership, assist students in developing a stronger sense of belonging, and encourage positive neighborhood relations. In April 2009, after its first full year in operation, an assessment of the centre's role on campus and the programs and services it offered was commissioned by the dean of student affairs. The study, conducted under the direction of the coordinator of assessment, evaluation, and outreach, was designed to capture student feedback about the centre and harness their ideas for future planning. Participants felt that the COC offered "a lot of ideas" and suggested that it may be trying "to be everything to everybody" by offering such a diverse set of programming and services. Participants also commented that some of the programs and services offered were similar to others already available on campus. Without unique programs or services, students were challenged to find a reason to go to the COC instead of using an existing, more established service on campus. Suggestions for new events or activities to continue included documentary/speaker series, taking university-led community projects off campus, summer programs, community gardens, and sustainability projects. All would increase the likelihood of participation by students and provide clearer links to the community. These activities could show a more "positive side and impact" of students in the community. Overwhelmingly, students in the focus groups commented on the potential of the COC to integrate university students into the community and provide a unique formal and informal meeting place for students of various interests. (Contains 1 table and 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada