Core Values

  • Collaborative Partnerships – Service endeavors should strive for egalitarian campus-community partnerships characterized by mutual trust and respect, guarding against becoming imperialism in the guise of service.  (See principles of partnership below.)
  • Stewardship & Sustainability – Service endeavors should address community needs in a manner that respects community partners’ interests, resources, and capacity.  Every effort should be made to understand the larger social, economic, and environmental consequences of proposals and projects.
  • Diversity & Inclusion– Collaborative campus – community partnerships often entail cross-cultural experiences.  Successful collaborative service projects respect multiple cultural and power dynamics and utilize the strengths brought to the project by all parties.
  • Excellence & Integrity– Service endeavors should be contextually responsive, innovative, well researched, and aim toward respectful, sustainable positive change. Service endeavors should be built on principles of honesty and trust and focus on serving the common good.
  • Reciprocity – Service endeavors should seek to develop relationships where all parties remain aware of how they are giving as well as how they are receiving.


Principles for Campus-Community Partnerships and Collaboration

  1. Partnerships form to serve a specific purpose and may take on new goals over time.
  2. The relationship between partners is characterized by mutual trust, respect, genuineness, and commitment.
  3. Partners actively strive to understand each other's needs and self-interests, and develop a common language.
  4. The partnership builds upon identified strengths and assets, but also works to address needs and increase capacity or growth of all partners.
  5. The partnership balances power among partners and shares resources among partners.
  6. Principles and processes for the partnership are established with the input and agreement of all partners, especially for decision-making and conflict resolution.
  7. Partners seek to agree upon a mission, values, goals, measurable outcomes, and accountability for their partnership.
  8. There is feedback among all stakeholders in the partnership, with the goal of continuously improving the partnership and its outcomes.
  9. Partners share the benefits of the partnership's accomplishments.
  10. Partnerships can dissolve and may need to plan a process for closure.


Service-Learning Definition

Service-learning is a structured learning experience that combines community-based projects with explicit learning objectives, preparation, and reflection. Involvement in  curricular and co-curricular service-learning experiences enables you to provide a valuable service to the community. In addition, you’ll learn about the context in which your service is provided, the connection between the service and your academic coursework, the connection to your own personal values and social justice interests, and your role as an engaged citizen.

Service-learning at Grinnell

  • Responds to community-identified concerns or needs;
  • Is developed, implemented, and evaluated in collaboration with community partners;
  • Respects each partner’s capacity and factors affecting sustainability;
  • Seeks to be aware of power dynamics, builds upon each party’s strengths, and shares resources;
  • Attempts to balance the service that is provided with the reciprocal learning taking place;
  • Enhances the liberal arts experience by extending interdisciplinary learning beyond the classroom, thus allowing students to apply what they are learning to complex real-world situations;
  • Focuses on the development of civic and professional skills;
  • Provides opportunities for feedback, critical reflection, and personal development; and
  • Aims to help students and community members understand the civic and professional value of a liberal arts education.