Guidelines and Expectations for Partnering Organizations
Supervision: Partners identify one person (or sometimes two) to serve as the main liaison to the student project team.
The liaison works with the MPC Co-Directors in the months before the project term to develop a project brief (of about 1 page) describing the project goals and context.
During the preparation term, which students complete on the WPI campus in the 2 months prior to the project term, the liaison is expected to participate in an introductory phone or skype conversation with the team, which the students coordinate and schedule. Liaisons are invited to continue engaging with the team beyond that introductory call, by sending important documents and resources, reading proposal drafts, or continuing communication by phone or email with students. At a minimum, liaisons should read the proposal the students prepare for the end of the preparation term. This ensures that the team and the partner are “on the same page” in their thinking about the project goals and implementation. In our experience, maintaining more communication through the preparation term is better as it allows the students and the liaison to address any misunderstandings about project goals earlier.
During the project term in Melbourne, the liaison is the team’s key contact at the partner organization. The liaison is expected to participate in a weekly ‘progress meeting’ which students facilitate (determining the agenda, distributing minutes, etc.). The meeting allows the team, WPI faculty advisors, liaison, and possibly others in the partner organization to discuss the project process and direction. The liaison also facilitates students’ access to resources as needed through the project term. This could involve passing on contact information or making introductions to key stakeholders, ensuring students’ work environment is suitable, and meeting with the students as needed to address questions. We also ask the liaison to work with the students to arrange a final presentation venue and date at the end of the project term, allowing the team to share outcomes with others at the organization or with the larger community.
Workspace: The partner organization is asked to provide workspace for the student team. The weekly progress meeting, with students, advisors, and the liason, is usually held at the partner’s location. Students work from their own laptops, and we ask that the partner provide wifi access and, if available, access to printers, projectors or other needed office equipment. We can sometimes work around workspace requirement if the organization has difficulty providing space, but we find that it is immensely helpful for the students to be immersed in the work environment, surrounded by professionals in the field, and within easy access of the liaison.
Myki transportation cards: We ask partners to provide daily Myki cards for each member of their project team for the duration of the project term (about 56 consecutive days). This facilitates student travel for work-related purposes, and it’s a great asset that encourages students to explore Melbourne. We typically collect the cards from the partner several days before students arrive on site.
Participation Fee: The main contribution we ask of partners is to provide the Myki cards for the team members, which is around $1,500 AUD. In addition, WPI requests, but does not require, a contribution of $500 upon completion of a successful project, at the discretion of the partner organization.