Partner with SCP


ENGR 171 students in Big Lake, MN with City Planner and St. Thomas alum, Michael Healy. Students created design ideas for natural playground areas.

SCP is accepting partnership proposals for the 2023-2024 academic year.  

Communities often face limited resources to investigate sustainability and quality of life issues that are important but not urgent to them. SCP seeks to expand capacity for communities to investigate community-identified projects through community-course partnerships: collaborative problem-solving and applied research with existing graduate and undergraduate courses across disciplines at St. Thomas.  See completed projects for examples.

How can your community participate?

This is not a commitment to participate.  We will meet with you to talk more about how the partnership works, discuss whether partnering will be mutually beneficial for you and students' applied learning, and answer any questions you may have about the partnership process.  We may also brainstorm potential projects that will benefit your community.

Contact Maria Dahmus, SCP Director, to set up a meeting.

If after our initial meetings you'd like to partner with SCP, we develop a partnership agreement, outlining the purpose and duration of the partnership and other terms for collaboration. 

After developing this partnership agreement, we collaboratively develop individual projects with specific courses that advance your sustainability goals and enrich students' applied learning (Step 3).  We can collaborate on 1 or more projects each semester, and collaborate on multiple projects throughout the duration of the partnership.  

For each project, SCP facilitates a collaborative project scoping process to develop the project in conversation with the course instructor.  

The purpose of project scoping is to collaboratively develop a project that advances your goals and enriches the course's learning objectives by molding the project goals to the course.  We discuss the project purpose, the scale and scope of the project in relation to the course's opportunities and constraints, and data needs, timeline, and deliverables. 

The project scoping process ensures that that the project:

  • enriches course's learning objectives through real-world application of course content,
  • is at a level and scale appropriate for the course and time constraints,
  • is logistically feasible (e.g., confirming background information, data, access to sites, etc. needed to complete the project), and
  • advances your sustainability goals.

SCP drafts a project scope document that includes the project overview and objectives, questions to be investigated, data the partner will provide, timeline, and deliverables based on the project scoping meeting. You and the course instructor offer revisions as needed.

The purpose of this document is to ensure that you and the course instructor share the same goals and expectations for the project and logistical details have been worked out to ensure an enriching experiential learning opportunity for students that advances your sustainability goals.

Community and SCP Responsibilities

The community partner identifies a staff member who will serve as the partnership lead.  The partnership lead will:

  1. Be the primary contact for SCP;
  2. Work with SCP to develop and oversee projects;
  3. Serve as a champion for the partnership to the community.

The community partnership lead also identifies a staff project lead for each project. (The partnership lead often serves as the project lead.)

The project lead will:

  1. Be the primary point of contact for that project;
  2. Collaborate with SCP and the course instructor to develop the project scope; 
  3. Provide available data for project completion;
  4. Provide access to field sites (as applicable);
  5. Communicate with class throughout the semester to inform and assess project by:
    • Providing a project orientation to class at the beginning of the semester;
    • Attending mid-project presentation to provide project feedback;
    • Attending final presentation at the end of the semester (or arranging a city audience for final presentation);
    • Being responsive to questions throughout the semester.

Community partner will provide funds for project materials necessary to complete project (e.g., materials necessary for building a prototype).

SCP responsibilities include:

  1. Collaboration with partners on partnership and project development;
  2. Leading project scoping;
  3. Drafting project scopes;
  4. Providing curriculum development consultation to faculty;
  5. Providing logistical support to courses;
  6. Problem-solving and trouble-shooting throughout partnership.