Community Learning and Service Partnerships (CLASP)




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 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:
1. Reading comprehension
2. Writing for business or pleasure
3. Mathematics
4. English as a Second Language
5. Conversational skills
6. Preparation for the GED exam
7. High School Diploma through the EDP (External Diploma Program)
8. Basic computer literacy
9. Support for an exam or class
Undergraduate students participating in CLASP receive four academic credits for completing the EDUC 2200/2210 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 2008, 43 employees were paired with student learning partners or staff. In the summer of 2008, 32 employees continued their learning partnerships. In the fall of 2008, 46 employees participated in the program, making a total of 121 partnerships for the year. Employees can enter the program at any time. Since the addition of a part-time teaching aide, employees can participate in CLASP all year (fall, spring, and summer). The aide and assistant director work specifically with employees with special learning needs or scheduling requirements that cannot be addressed effectively in partnerships with students.

Submitted by: 

  • Wilson, Arthur L

Researchers involved: 

  • Wilson, Arthur L
  • Steele, Virginia K
  • Hutko, Robert

International focus: 

  • United States of America

United States focus: 

  • New York

New York State focus: 

  • Cayuga
  • Cortland
  • Schuyler
  • Tioga
  • Tompkins