Community Learning and Service Partnership (CLASP)
CALS Impact Statement
The Community Learning and Service Partnership (CLASP) is a participatory adult learning program designed to create and support reciprocal educational experiences between Cornell students and Cornell employees.
CLASP provides both students and employees with the opportunity to develop a variety of individually determined learning goals, encourages critical reflection, and creates an empowering environment to support social change on an individual and societal level.
For employees, the CLASP learning partnerships result in the integration of basic skills with all areas of their lives including work, leisure, and family. In striving towards personal growth, participants serve as role models for fellow workers and family members, thereby advancing workplace and family learning.
Participants choose their own learning goals within the following areas: reading comprehension; writing for business or pleasure; mathematics; English as a second language; conversational skills; preparation for the GED exam; high school diploma through the External Diploma Program; basic computer literacy; and support for an exam or class.
Undergraduate students participating in CLASP receive four academic credits for completing the EDUC 220/221 two-semester sequence. In the course, students are matched one-to-one with Cornell employees. In addition to facilitating adult learning, students learn to become more self-directed, to integrate theory and practice, and to be critical observers of their own experiential learning. Through class discussions and readings, they consider issues of interpersonal communication, diversity, empowerment, and educational opportunity.
The CLASP program began in 1990. Over the years, more than 400 employees have participated in CLASP, some for multiple semesters. In the spring of 2006, 31 employees were paired with student-learning partners or staff. In the fall of 2006, 36 employees participated in the program. Employees can enter the program at any time. Because of the addition of a part-time teaching aide, employees can participate in CLASP all year (not just during semesters). During the summer of 2006, staff served 26 employees. The aide and assistant director work specifically with employees with special learning needs or scheduling requirements that could not be addressed effectively in partnerships with students.