Mentorship and Supervision

To maximize student learning from community-based learning activities, students must receive guidance and meaningful feedback from on-campus and community-partner co-educators.

When designing a collaboration, faculty and community partners need to discuss not only the tasks students will be engaging in, but also student skills and abilities, and the type of orientation and supervision they will need to succeed (see Student Preparation page for training and orientation resources).

Mentorship and Supervision Basics

Faculty and community partners should clearly outline the supervisory role they will each play with students by answering these questions together:*

  • Who will be the primary on-site supervisor(s), and what their role will entail?
    • For example, will they provide an orientation, determine students' work tasks and schedules, discuss learning goals, answer questions, read reflections, provide constructive feedback, observe student attitudes and behavior, respond to challenges, etc.?
  • What kinds of skills will students need to possess to meet the goals of this collaboration?
  • How will student supervision and mentorship will take place?
    • For example, via one-on-one check-ins, team meetings, direct observation, written communication, etc.?
  • How will communication between the supervisor(s) and faculty take place, and how frequently will these checkins occur?
    • Be sure to decide how supervisors will be able to reach faculty if student-related issues emerge. For instance, if students are missing shifts or are acting disrespectfully.
  • What potential challenges do you anticipate in this collaboration, and how might those be addressed together or mitigated before the course even begins? 

*Adapted from Berkeley Faculty Toolkit, p.23.