Reflections on Deconstructing Reciprocity: A Case Study of a Dialogue with Community Partners on the Reality of Campus-Community Power Dynamics

Reflections on Deconstructing Reciprocity: A Case Study of a Dialogue with Community Partners on the Reality of Campus-Community Power Dynamics

Join this 1-hour session to explore a case study of a dialogue with community partners on the reality of Campus-Community Power Dynamics facilitated by the Singapore University of Social Sciences. Since 2014, the Singapore University of Social Sciences has worked with over 300 community partners in Singapore and abroad though its Service-Learning programme that connects social purpose organisations with full-time undergraduates.

The programme’s key values of reciprocity, student voice, community voice, reflection and meaningful service have remained intact through evolving partnership models.

Through a retrospective reflection on 9 years of annual dialogues with community partners, this presentation examines the use of facilitated dialogues with key stakeholders of the programme as an opportunity to recognise and reconcile potentially conflicting priorities in navigating evolving partnership models. The dialogues offer a strategy to continually relook, deconstruct and renew the programme’s key values, reshaping current realities to reflect on and deepen our collective understanding of what it means to work collaboratively towards mutually beneficial outcomes.

Examining learnings from facilitated dialogues with key stakeholders involved in the programme, the presentation findings offer practice considerations for other institutions involved in community engaged learning.

About the facilitators:

Dr Cynthia Chang is Assistant Dean at the College of Interdisciplinary & Experiential Learning, Singapore University of Social Sciences where she was founding Head of the Office of Service-Learning. Her work seeks to nurture enabling environments at educational institutions and social purpose organisations in Singapore and the Asia Pacific for reciprocal engagement with communities through harnessing effective cross-sector engagement in approaching complex societal issues. She speaks and convenes on issues in service-learning and community engagement, facilitating learning across a wide spectrum of learners; from primary students to undergraduates, civil society leaders in Bhutan, higher education practitioners in Taiwan and mid-career professionals from across the Asia-Pacific.

Ms Pamela Loh, Head (Service-Learning), Singapore University of Social Sciences, has been with the educational ecosystem for more than 15 years.  As a Service-Learning and Outdoor practitioner, she is a firm believer of experiential learning as a pedagogical approach for teaching and learning.  She specializes and has keen interest in guiding learners towards purposeful Service-Learning and Community Engagements through strengths-based approach and reciprocal engagement.  She believes every individual’s learning can be developed and stretched through impactful and meaningful experiences. In her time as an educator, she had the privilege to head the Community and Leadership Development programmes in a number of secondary and tertiary schools.

Mr Jason Ng is a Specialist (Experiential Learning) at the Singapore University of Social Sciences. At the university, Jason facilitates students in their Service-Learning and Community Engagement projects, particularly those belonging to the themes of “Diversity and Inclusion”, and “Community Building”. He is a strong believer in bringing together communities to improve their own communities, an outlook coming from the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) approach. It is also his aspiration that students, Community Partners and educational institutions could also come together as self-driving communities, continually enabling and inspiring one another for more meaningful social change.

This session is run as part of the Carnegie Community Engagement Network offerings.

*Please note that this session is free.


Contact us if you have any questions about the session or the Carnegie Community Engagement Network, please contact