Key Competencies for the Community Partnerships Core Credential

Key Competencies 

We define “key competencies” in the area of Community Partnerships as the knowledge, skills, experiences, and critical commitments that must be mobilized by CEPs to ethically and effectively engage in equity-focused, mutually-beneficial community engagement experiences.

To earn this core credential, an individual effectively demonstrates their knowledge, experience, skills, and critical commitments in the following areas:

  1. Knowledge of the self: awareness of how personal and professional identities may shape relationships among partners
    • Ability to reflect on and articulate one’s relationship to the community/communities with which one aims to partner, including attention to how similarities and differences in experience, status, professional affiliation, or identity may shape dynamics of collaboration
  2. Knowledge of the community with which you are partnering
    • Ability to familiarize yourself with the community’s history and histories, its past experiences with your institution, the network of assets that promote the community’s strength and functioning, and the short-term and long-term agendas and goals of community partnership members
  3. Able to initiate and maintain effective partnerships
    • Ability to initiate and design partnerships, build collaborative relationships based on trust and mutual respect, and sustain partnerships over time
  4. Ability to connect campus and community assets
    • Ability to understand and propose an asset-based approach to partnership development (as opposed to needs-based); ability to play a role in facilitating the mapping of community assets (local knowledge, skills, resources, organizations, and networks) to assure partnership activities build on community strengths; ability to utilize partnership language that avoids deficit-based terms (such as a needs, issues, problems, and challenges) but instead emphasizes affirmative ones (such as goals, aspirations, and vision)
  5. Able to communicate across roles and boundaries
    • Ability to actively listen and be open to the diverse views and voices of others as you steward campus and community stakeholders in partnership work
  6. Able to involve partners in reflection and assessment
    • Ability to plan for and design opportunities to check in and reflect with partnership members about what is working and what may need to happen differently to ensure that partnership goals are being met and that members feel respected and valued; ability to create conditions where partnership members can candidly share input, including critical feedback; ability to assess with partnership members whose goals were accomplished, which were not, and what next steps might look like.
  7. Able to resolve conflicts
    • Ability to monitor and facilitate communication and shared work among people with different organizational and personal norms, interests, expectations, and operating practices in order to ensure the quality of relationships and validate the input and authority of each partner; ability to mediate, mitigate, or resolve conflicts as they arise to assure inclusive, collaborative participation throughout the partnership

Key Critical Commitments

  1. Desire to develop authentic relationships and participate in the ongoing life of the community.
    • Willingness to participate and invest in the community you seek to engage (this could include making commitments to attend community meetings, frequent businesses, participate in community events and festivals, serve on organizational boards, engage in community planning processes or undertaking other activities meant to foster a more enduring level of authentic community participation); ability to participate in community life with sensitivity and care, entering as a learner, listener, and guest.
  2. Willingness to recognize and reflect on power relations within and between stakeholders