Community engaged course development

The Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship assists faculty in the design, development and implementation of community-engaged courses that combine authentic community or public service activity with academic instruction, focusing on critical, reflective thinking as well as the development of civic responsibility and/or personal growth.

The Institute's Faculty Advisory Committee administers the Community Engagement course designation process. An effectively designed community-engaged course represents a high-impact teaching practice that promotes deep, integrative learning.

Benefits of community engagement courses

A well designed community engagement course will enable students to:

  • build skills;
  • apply new ways of thinking;
  • reflect, make connections and challenge theoretical constructs; and
  • find meaning and understanding in a real-world context.

Students learn to think critically, work in teams, solve problems and engage diverse perspectives - precisely the skills that desire and citizens in a democracy need.

Identifying community engagement courses

In 2012, the Faculty Advisory Committee to the Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship (ICES) successfully introduced a designator for community engagement courses in the class schedule. A course with the designation of "Community Engagement" in the notes section of the class schedule signifies that the course integrates learning experiences where faculty, students and community engage in mutually beneficial collaboration through interactions that:

  • address community identified needs,
  • deepen students' civic and academic learning,
  • enhance community well-being, and
  • enrich the scholarship of the university.

Resources for faculty

The Community Engagement Course Designation Request Form provides faculty and academic departments with a process for requesting the Community Engagement designation for a course or courses.

To provide assistance to faculty who incorporate community-engaged learning into current or new university courses, the Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship will:

  • Connect faculty to a broad network of relationships in diverse communities and organizations
  • Organize site visits with prospective partners to discuss shared interests and collaboration
  • Assist faculty in selecting appropriate community-based sites for courses, faculty-designed and student-designed independent studies, scholarly research and capstone projects
  • Provide community-based learning course models and assistance with syllabus design
  • Share ideas and methods for integrating reflection into the learning process
  • Act as liaison between faculty, community organizations/agencies and students
  • Orient students to, and, if needed, provide/facilitate training for community-based projects
  • Disseminate assessment and evaluation tools - Direct faculty to relevant bibliographical references
  • Pair new community-based learning faculty with experienced community-based learning faculty
  • Inform faculty of funding opportunities for course development and other community-engaged scholarship
  • ink faculty to national, regional and local resources and professional development options such as training, conferences and speakers.