About our Community Partnerships
Community-university partnerships at Portland State may fall under one or more of the following types.
- Academic Course
- Co-Curricular Service Opportunity
- Federal Work-Study
- Field-Learning Project
- Memorandum of Understanding
- Miscellaneous Outreach
- Senior Capstone
- Sister Program
- Student Exchange/Study Abroad
- Student Leaders for Service
- Visiting Scholar/Faculty Abroad
PSU offers more than 400 community-based learning courses across all academic disciplines, engaging over 400 community organizations in a wide variety of partnerships designed to apply scholarly learning to salient community issues. PSU faculty and students work with community partners in order to expand and apply teaching and research methods that emphasize the relevance of course content. PSU community-based learning courses are offered throughout the curriculum and are often noted in the schedule of classes with the "CBL" icon.
Community-based learning activities can be found across the co-curriculum at PSU. PSU is home to over 200 recognized student organizations, housed under the umbrella of the Student Activities and Leadership Program (SALP), all of which offer engagement and/or leadership development opportunities. Student leadership opportunities offer direct experience in effecting change in the community. For example, students in these organizations manage a sustainable cafe in Portland State's Smith student union, lobby state and local governments, and create educational initiatives around social justice. Student leaders serve within many different clusters including: Multicultural, Fine & Performing Arts, Academic, Spiritual, Service & Advocacy, Recreation, Student Government and Greek Life. Please visit the SALP website for further information.
Many departments at PSU have developed academic degree and/or certificate programs that incorporate community-based learning into numerous aspects of the curricula and utilize community entities as key learning centers. For example, PSU has partnered with the International Institute for Information Science and Technology to jointly develop Bachelor's Degree programs in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering and Computer Science
To be considered a partnership, an event must be planned and/or implemented by a PSU entity in conjunction with additional organizations. For the purposes of the map, we are most interested in collecting data on large-scale, annual events, rather than one-time affairs. Examples include fundraisers, conferences, etc.
Students with Federal work-study grants may use their grant to work off-campus with local community service agencies. The PSU Career Center has contracts with a diverse group of organizations that allow our students to work in community service jobs designed to improve the quality of life for community residents, especially those with low incomes. Students interested in community service jobs should contact the Career Center at (503) 725-4965.
Field-learning experiences are designed to provide students with opportunties for working with experienced professionals and organizations in their chosen field. These experiences may take the form of interships and practica, as well as research and miscellaneous projects. Some academic programs, such as the Graduate School of Social Work, require a field-learning experience in order to receive a degree. Please contact individual academic departments for information on field-learning experiences.
Portland State University faculty coordinate student interns and community organizations in both short-term and long-term partnerships. Internships focus on developing students' professional skills and experience while contributing to the community. Internship experiences tend to be discipline-based, allowing students within a particular discipline to be placed in community-based organizations that provide experience within a focused field of work. Internships may or may not be paid positions and may or may not be taken for course credit. Internships are commonly offered and encouraged in professional fields of study such as Engineering, Urban Studies and Planning, Business, Community Health, Social Work, and Women's Studies. The PSU Career Center and individual academic departments post available internships.
PSU has many agreements with institutions around the world. These agreements serve as the foundation of what might become a direct exhange program for students, faculty and administrators. In addition, these agreements allow for the partner institutions to work collaboratively on research projects, conferences, symposia and joint publications.
Miscellaneous Outreach includes partnerships not covered by one of the previous topics. Examples include trainings, consultancies, evaluations, board service, policy development, etc.
Much like internships, practica focus on the development of students' professional skills and experience. Unlike most internship experiences, practicum experiences tend to be a required component of the degree program in which the student is enrolled. These practicum credits are conferred for learning that originates in a community-based setting. Similar to internships, practicum students gain experience within a focused field of work. Practicum experiences are for course credit only. Departments with practicum requirements include Child and Family Studies, Education, Public Administration, Conflict Resolution, Science Education and Linguistics, among others.
PSU engages in a variety of research partnerships with community organizations. These partner organizations may provide financial, logistical and administrative support, and may also serve as field research sites. Additionally, faculty are encouraged to engage in research that addresses relevant local, national, or international community issues.
The culmination of the University Studies program is the Capstone requirement. This six-credit, community-based learning course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to apply, in a team context, what they have learned in their major and in their other University Studies courses to a current challenge emanating from the community. The purpose of Capstone courses is to enhance student learning while cultivating crucial life abilities that are important both academically and professionally, establish connections within the larger community, develop strategies for analyzing and addressing problems and work with others trained in fields different from one's own. Please visit the Capstones website for further information.
Portland has many sister-city relationships around the globe, fostered through the City of Portland, that have led to the foundation of a variety of PSU international collaborations. Porgrams may include exchanges between faculty and administrators, or short-term visits to Portland. PSU continues to work closely with the mayor's office and sister-city groups to establish and further deepen the international scope of sister programs.
PSU currently has over 120 study abroad programs in more than 35 different countries. These programs fall into four categories: 1) direct exchange; 2)consortia programs; 3)faculty-led programs; and 4) international internships. Direct exchange programs allow for the direct exchange of students with partner institutions. Consortia programs are one-way programs in which PSU students are able to study through a variety of international consortiums. Faculty-led programs are courses designed by PSU faculty and the Office of International Affairs that are taught in an overseas setting for approximately one to five weeks. Lastly, PSU works with the International Education Experience and Employment program (sponsored by the Oregon University System) to arrange full-time overseas internships.
Housed within the Center for Academic Excellence, the Student Leaders for Service program intentionally builds students' leadership capacity to serve and learn with nonprofit organizations (including K-12 schools) in the Portland metropolitan area. Students Leaders enroll in a three-term course, commit to nine months of direct service (five to ten hours per week), and receive a small stipend. Student Leaders serve as a key link between the University and the community, making manifest PSU's motto: Let Knowledge Serve the City. Please visit SLS at the Center for Academic Excellence for further information.
For visiting scholars, the International Faculty Services (IFS) branch of the Office of International Affairs provides visas and other assistance to visiting scholars and faculty, helping PSU departments meet the legal requirements for hosting and/or employing visiting scholars and faculty. IFS advises international faculty and scholars (and their dependents) about regulations and procedures for maintaing legal status, travel, employment authorization, and other issues. For PSU faculty wishing to serve abroad, the IFS provides assistance in identifying appropriate partner instituions. More than 50 PSU faculty members annually serve these partner institutions in a variety of capacities, including research and classroom instruction.