Faculty/Staff Learning Partners
What is a Learning Partner?
While the Alternative Breaks trips are student-led, we are committed to offering service opportunities to all members of the EKU community. We believe faculty and staff bring unique perspectives to the social and environmental issues we address, and can help support our student leaders in their development.
Student Life is committed to sending trips with a carefully selected advisor; not only in case of emergencies, but also for the unique perspective you bring to the trip.
EKU’s Alternative Break trips are led by two student co-leaders. These student leaders are responsible for the trip logistics both before and during the trip, communications with the partner sites, team meetings and development, and facilitating group reflection sessions. Each trip also has a Learning Partner, or advisor.
The most effective Learning Partner serve as a resource to the trip Site Leaders and participants.
Learning Partners add to the alternative break experience by:
- Adding hers/his/their valuable experience and knowledge to the trip and its participants, as guidance during service and service reflection.
- Being a mature influence that encourages students to make good decisions
- Adding educational value to the trip by contributing their life and professional perspectives
- Acting as a resource for partner agencies by providing advice and/or support
- Building relationships with student trip leaders and participants while in a non-traditional role
- Encouraging long-term relationships between the alternative break program and other EKU offices
- Supporting the trip leaders in the case of an accident or emergency
- Potentially being a van driver
Expectations of Learning Partners:
- Participate in all trip service, reflection, and in the group experience while on the alternative break trip such as group living and cooking
- Be accessible to trip leaders to provide mentorship and facilitate leadership development
- Communicate and collaborate effectively with trip leaders
- Communicate and collaborate effectively with community organization representatives
- Be prepared to facilitate conflict resolution strategies
- Be prepared to help participants process service and education experiences
- Be prepared to help trip leaders manage stress, logistics, conflict, exhaustion, and crisis (as issues may arise)
- Be prepared to share your thoughts, knowledge, and experiences, as it relates to the trip issue, with participants
- Complete appropriate follow-up activities, evaluations, and program documentation with participants
- Be prepared to take leadership in the event of an emergency, or if she/he/they have the opportunity to prevent an emergency.
In addition, Learning Partners:
- Are not meant to micromanage or plan for the trip, but provide leadership in the event of a crisis and help ensure all students are abiding by agreed upon student conduct contracts
- Are encouraged, although not required, to participate in pre/post trip activities, as available.
- Will attend trip for no charge
- Depending on trip, most meals will be covered as well
- Any site seeing, dining out, or other such activities must be covered by the individual
- Any ‘flex time’ must be worked out between the Learning Partner and their supervisor/department chair prior to agreeing to participate
What Do Past Learning Partners Say?
I truly enjoyed being a part of the New Orleans trip this Spring Break. I was very impressed with the student leaders and the work ethic of all on the trip. I came away very proud of EKU for its effort to put its students into other communities to do acts of good works. I am so proud to be associated with such a fine group of students who are learning about the role they can play in community service projects today and for the future. I am the better for having participated!!!
-Kirk David, Director of Development
I cannot express how rewarding of an experience it really was.
While the projects were a lot of work, they were certainly worth the many hours of labor as the group left feeling fantastic about the “good stuff” we helped with. As we drove back to Richmond, my mind drifted to the memories created that week.
Like so many faculty, I am here because I enjoy working with students. Interacting with folks eager to learn and make a difference in the world keeps me happy, focused, and energetic. After all the hours I invested with the students during the ASB, it was a week I would never take back. It was more than an educational endeavor, more than a spring break spent doing “good things,” it was a week of civic engagement that built relationships.
With that, I really want to encourage every faculty member to consider being a learning partner for an alternative break trip with Student Life. Even through the hard work, it was enjoyable and fun. If you ever need a testimonial to encourage you, please let me know.
-Dr. Mike Bradley, Assistant Professor, Recreation and Park Administration
*Note:Due to Fair Labor laws, learning partners must be members of the faculty, exempts staff members, or graduate assistants (with supervisor’s permission)
For more information on becoming a Faculty/Staff Learning Partner, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 622-3855.