Leadership and Civic Engagement

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OLCE’s Foundations of Community Engagement

OLCE’s Foundations of Community Engagement aim to prepare students to engage with the community ethically and effectively. The foundations were adapted from Stanford’s Principles of Ethical and Effective Service and informed by the Social Change Model. They guide our work with students, faculty, and community partners to inform program design, implementation, and evaluation, as well as to ensure that our work aligns with our values.  OLCE has identified the following foundations as essential to our specific community:

Self-AwarenessPreparationReciprocity Respect & InclusionReflection 

These foundations were adapted into statements. These statements allow us to talk with students about how they are preparing to engage with community in an ethical and effective way.

When we engage with community, we aspire to …  

  • Assume shared responsibility to work toward mutual benefit and growth for yourself and the community partner(s).
  • Understand what motivates us to take action and how our beliefs or attitudes change through an experience.
  • Take time to understand the social, and historical contexts of the community we will be working with.  
  • Acknowledge the visible and invisible dimensions of identity, power, and privilege that are present in all situations.  
  • Value the different strengths and knowledge of all community partners and team members involved.
  • Reflect on the impact of our efforts, including unintended results (positive or negative.) 

Click here to view our full description. This document describes the foundations in more details, explains how we engage students, lists potential discussion questions, and share ideas on how to utilize the foundations in your community engagement programs.

These foundations can be used in many ways by students, faculty & staff, and community partners.

  • Students use them to reflect on their engagement with the community in order to prepare them to serve ethically and effectively.  
  • Faculty & Staff members use them as a structure to lead students in conversations that best prepare them to serve in communities.  
  • Community Partners can review the principles as a tool for developing mutual understanding of a student’s role with their organization.  

The foundations are aspirational and intentionally provocative. Ethical and effective service is an ongoing process—whether we are engaging in public service for the first time or have significant experience. A few general assumptions regarding the language in this document: 

  • The foundations are not listed in priority order and are all equally valued. 
  • The foundations are not intended to be a perfect typology; there are important interconnections between the principles that can be explored. 
  • Although the principles are applicable to all parties involved in a service activity, the language is primarily focused on the student role and experience.