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Who We Serve 

The Roger Williams University (RWU) Community Partnerships Center (CPC) provides project-based assistance to nonprofit organizations, municipalities, government agencies and low and moderate income communities in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. Our mission is to undertake and complete projects that will benefit the local community, while providing RWU students with experience in real-world projects that deepen their academic experiences.

To discuss an idea for a project, please contact Arnold Robinson at arobinson@rwu.edu or 401.254.3307 or 401.254.5211.

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Geographic Area of Service

The CPC provides project-based assistance in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. Decisions regarding project selection are made based on factors that determine if the community partner organization and the proposed scope of work can be effectively serviced by project teams. The CPC aims to limit travel time to allow faculty and students to spend the necessary amount of time on site. When possible, CPC staff and teams will arrange virtual meetings with community partners, using Go To Meeting, Skype and other platforms.

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Participating RWU Programs

RWU offers a variety of valuable academic programs that can enhance CPC projects and have a meaningful impact on the project and the students in those programs. These programs bring a wide range of skilled faculty and students together where they can work collaboratively for the benefit of the community partner and to enhance their own learning and academic goals. CPC projects draw upon the skills and experience of students, faculty and staff from all RWU programs.

The primary method for meeting the goals of community partners, students and faculty is through the integration into a course(s) at RWU. These projects create a collaborative, interactive working environment where experts, citizens, faculty and students from diverse backgrounds can routinely work together. Many CPC projects are trans-disciplinary and include the involvement of academic programs/courses, paid student workers, interns, volunteer organizations, and any other appropriate groups or individuals that can contribute their expertise and talent to the predetermined scope of work for the community partner.

Methods typically used to deliver work to community partners may include:

Large trans-disciplinary teams of RWU faculty and students, including;

  • Students enrolled in a semester-long course or workshop
  • Graduate assistants in Architecture and Historic Preservation
  • Work Study students from any RWU discipline
  • Student interns from any RWU discipline

Small teams of RWU students working under the direction of a staff or faculty mentor. These students can be working as:

  • Thesis candidates
  • Independent study students from any RWU discipline
  • Graduate Assistants
  • Work Study students from any RWU discipline
  • Student interns from any RWU discipline

Students and faculty from a single course focusing on a particular community issue as a class project.
Intensive one-day design charrettes, workshops, or focus groups staffed by integrated teams from various RWU programs.

All CPC projects are defined by a Memorandum of Agreement with the Community Partner. This agreement: defines the project scope and the process to be followed; identifies the participating RWU faculty, staff and students and the community representatives; identifies primary and secondary goals; establishes the project timeline; outlines the final work products that will be delivered and presented. All potential Community Partners should review the sample Memorandum of Agreement for a typical CPC project.

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CPC Products

Students and faculty from RWU will work together to complete deliverables for each Community Partner that participates in a CPC project. Deliverables are agreed upon by the CPC, the Community Partner and the faculty member before the project begins. Typically, final work from the team is compiled in to a book – available to the Community Partner in hard copy and as a PDF.

CPC project services are performed by students in support of their educational experience. Any deliverables generated through an accepted project is intended to provide conceptual information only to assist design and planning and is not intended, nor should they be used for, construction or other project implementation.  Professional and/or other services may be needed to ultimately implement a sponsor’s desired goals.

Final products for Community Partners have included:

  • Marketing Plans
  • Surveys andResults from Participants
  • Historical Research Documents
  • Architectural Designs, Drawings, and Renderings
  • Historical Rehabilitation Plans
  • Websites
  • Logo Creation
  • Preservation Plans
  • Design Manuals
  • Interviews
  • Archival Research Documents
  • Engineering Plans
  • Educational Curriculum Development
  • Museum Exhibition Designs
  • Construction Cost Estimates

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How Can Your Organization Collaborate with the RWU CPC?

The CPC looks for projects that can benefit communities in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts while providing students and faculty teams with opportunities to apply their learning, engage the community, and create a final product that will benefit the Community Partner.

Projects that the CPC undertakes with Community Partners are chosen in a competitive selection process. Potential partners must complete and submit the CPC Project Assistance Application along with all required support materials. In order to assist organizations as they prepare their applications, the CPC is happy to answer specific questions by e-mail or by phone. We look forward to working with you in the future and encourage you to contact us should you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

Due to the increase in the number of applications received, and academic calendar and registration schedules at the University, the CPC has decided to make changes to its call for projects, effective November 1, 2014.

Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis and held for consideration until scheduled CPC Review Committee meetings - generally held in early May and early October. Projects may be considered for upcoming spring, summer and fall academic semesters.

Every effort will be made to process applications that are received in a timely manner prior to the next CPC Review Committee Meeting. Please note it may take between 90-120 days to decide on applications following the initial CPC Review Committee meeting. This time allows us to find the best fit for project requests within courses, programs, and leadership organizations at the University.

Download The Application The CPC staff is happy to answer specific questions by e-mail or phone as you complete the application process.

Apply for CPC Project Assistance Online

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Selection Criteria

Selection criteria have been established by the CPC in conjunction with the University and the Advisory Board. In selecting a project for RWU involvement, the activity should comply with as many of the following criteria as possible:

  • The project should benefit the students and faculty at RWU
  • Relate to the curriculum and academic program goals
  • Offers opportunities to use the skills of students and faculty from diverse academic disciplines
  • Enhance career skills and career contacts
  • Build civic awareness and skills
  • The project should provide a direct benefit to the Community Partner
  • Serves a genuine community need
  • Provides a tangible, usable product
  • Is consistent with the organization's mission and goals
  • Demonstrates a commitment and value to RWU
  • The Community Partner would not otherwise have the means to retain a professional for this portion of the work
  • The project has diverse geographic focus
  • The project would build RWU and CPC ties in other service areas
  • The project has the potential to impact more than one key community
  • The project partner and site are accessible to students and faculty
  • The project taps in to existing or planned RWU connections in the area
  • The project has a potential benefit to RWU
  • The project has a clear story that can be told at the end
  • The project would present a positive image of RWU in the community
  • The project would provide positive media coverage for RWU and the community 
  • The project would present a positive image to potential RWU students
  • The project would allow RWU to build partnerships with elected officials,  area businesses, professional associations, educational organizations, federal agencies, foundations and other groups.
  • The project has the potential for funding
  • The Community Partner has funding set aside to assist with this project (funds for an internship, to defray transportation costs, printing/mailing costs, etc.)
  • The Community Partner has secured or has the potential to secure funding for the project
  • There are opportunities for grant and foundation funding for RWU and the Community Partner's organization for the project.
  • There are opportunities for corporate support for RWU and the Community Partner's organization for the project.
  • The Community Partner understands that 
  • RWU's involvement in the project is to help advance a solution to a community or organizational need, moving the project closer to implementation.
  • The organization will have realistic expectations of the capacity and abilities of RWU faculty and students operating in a specified time frame.
  • RWU will not expose itself to undue liability (i.e.. inspection of unsafe structures, stamping drawings for construction)
  • All CPC projects are defined by a Memorandum of Agreement with the Community Partner, which defines the project scope, the project participants, and the process to be followed.
  • CPC project services are performed by students in support of their educational experience. Any deliverables generated through an accepted project is intended to provide conceptual information only to assist design and planning and is not intended, nor should they be used for, construction or other project implementation. 
  • Professional and/or other services may be needed to ultimately implement a sponsor’s desired goals.

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Contact Information

Arnold N. Robinson, AICP
Director
Roger Williams University, One Old Ferry Road, Bristol, RI 02809-2921
Phone: (401) 254-3307
Fax: (401) 254-3565
Email: arobinson@rwu.edu

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