This project focuses on the development of sustainable partnerships between the local community and the courses Social Work and Orthopedagogy of the AP University College Antwerp. In accordance with several of AP’s priorities, the aim of the project is to connect the local community to both courses through a model of community-based learning (CBL).
CBL integrates educational goals with local community activities (Bringle & Hatcher, 1999). Both orthopedagogy and social work benefit from and need to strengthen partnerships with organisations in the new environment of the campus North (‘t Eilandje, Den Dam, Seefhoek). The proximity and diversity of work field organisations in the neighbourhood offer new opportunities for the students, the campus and the neighbourhood. The study programs already work together with organisations in the neighbourhood, but this is mainly limited to internships and ad hoc contacts.
The main goal of the project is to strengthen the connection and cooperation with the field of work in the neighbourhood by establishing sustainable partnerships between the training courses and the neighbourhood. In addition, the project contributes to the visibility and awareness of AP’s welfare training in the local community.
The project goes through several phases. A first step is to map relevant welfare organisations and neighbourhood associations in the vicinity of Campus North and ask them about their familiarity with the new campus and about their vision on cooperation (possibilities) in which they become more involved and in which students are given more learning opportunities in the neighbourhood. In addition, the wishes and conditions of lecturers and students for CBL will also be mapped out.
In a second phase, one or more applications of CBL are developed and tested on a small scale (e.g. within one olod). This step ends with an evaluation of the pilot project. The last project year refines the CBL application(s), creates a CBL model for other AP bachelor’s programs and strengthens the embedding in the curriculum and the neighbourhood.