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Research Articles

Vol. 27 No. 3

Cautious Collaboration: Community and University Partnerships in the COVID-19 Era

June 28, 2021


This national study included a quantitative inquiry regarding the impact of COVID-19 on service-learning from 207 participants representing community partner organizations (n = 145) and higher education institutions (n = 62). Community partners reported a decreased number of students engaged in service-learning after the outbreak of COVID-19. Response patterns emerged between community partners and higher education participant groups. The perceived helpfulness of service-learning for student success and fostering relationships differed statistically among the partner types—higher education participants rated these higher than community partners. Reasons for participating varied among partner types, and community partners identified volunteer procurement among the most helpful support higher education offers beyond service-learning. Changing policies, wearing masks, and virtual communication were cited as main adaptations to COVID-19 but prioritized differently among partners. This study uncovered the emerging and varied perspectives of higher education and community partners regarding service-learning at this significant time in history.