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CB Course Designation

4. Preparation for Service

Faculty will prepare students for community entry and responsible participation and communication with community partner staff through academic readings and conversation.

students prepare for service by writing on flipchart

Students prepare for their work with the community through outlining and defining the project.


Background Knowledge

It is important to ensure that students are informed about the partnering agency, regional issues, political climate, and community culture prior to entering into service. 

Methods of Preparation Include: 

  • Students watch films about the nonprofit partner (check out AU's Community Voice Project)
  • Students read and reflect on local news sources
  • Review DC Facts
  • Students utilize DC Neighborhood Walking Tours produced by Cultural Tourism DC
  • Students conduct a community mapping project
  • Bring a speaker to class to offer background on the neighborhood or organization or issue area.

Personal Preparation

All of us carry our own backgrounds and experiences with us. These experiences influence how we interact with and perceive others, they can include biases and prejudices. It is important that our acknowledge and own this background. 

Methods of Preparation Include: 

  • Assign readings that challenge student perspectives of themselves
  • Assign readings that challenge student perspectives of service and helping
  • Facilitate activities to assist students in understanding their own identity, privilege, and culture, to prepare them for working with others of diverse backgrounds
  • Work with AU's Center for Diversity and Inclusion to offer Unmasking your Privilege training

Practical Preparation

It is also essential that students have a basic logistical questions answered and are practically prepared for service. 

Items to Review:

  • Dates and times of service
  • Location of service
  • Transportation plan and time necessary for travel
  • Dress code
  • Point of contact
  • Safety tips


Reflection is a critical component of preparing students for students. Reflection done prior to the start of service is frequently called pre-flection.

More on Reflection


Review how faculty, community partners, and students can all assist in the preparation process.

More on Co-Education

The CB Course Designation

Return to the CB Course Designation homepage to review other CB criteria.