Community Engaged Learning at USU is a teaching method that utilizes student involvement in community service to meet instructional objectives of a course. Students apply information from a class in authentic settings while addressing real needs of the community that have been identified by the community. Faculty often mention that Community Engaged Learning courses offer an opportunity for students to better internalize course materials, and lead to deeper student engagement and beneficial class discussion.
Additional benefits for teaching Community Engaged Learning courses include:
- Lead to new avenues for research and publication
- Promote students' active learning; engage students with different learning styles
- Develop students' civic and leadership skills
- Boost course enrollment by attracting highly motivated and engaged students
- Provide networking opportunities with engaged faculty in other disciplines
- Foster relationships between faculty and community organizations, which can open other opportunities for collaborative work
With the roll out of the new Community Bridge Initiviative (CBI) partnership program in Fall 2016, all Community Engaged Learning faculty and community partners will participate in an updated partnership process, aimed to improve communication, establish clear goals and objectives, and develop agreed upon deliverables. Under the new CBI program model, faculty will have liability protection as all community partners will have completed a Memorandum of Understanding indicating that USU is listed on their liability insurance. The Community Engaged Learning program will also maintain a database of community partner project proposals to be matched with courses. Once you have decided to teach a Community Engaged Learning course, you must adhere to the following process:
CBI Process Steps:
- Course Matching – Community partners and faculty consult the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) office to identify project and course matches. Although CCE staff do their best to identify course matches, there is not always a good course fit each semester, and some community agencies /classes might need to wait until the following semester or academic year.
- Designation Form – Faculty are required to complete and submit a Community Engaged Learning Course Designation Form to have their class officially designated as a SL course. This form can be submitted at any time, but it must be received prior to student registration to be included in Banner. For more information on the designation process, please view our Faculty Resource Page.
- Scope of Work – Prior to the start of the semester, community partners and faculty will meet to complete the Scope of Work (SOW), outlining goals of the project, roles and responsibilities, and deliverables to be completed by the end of the semester. Both parties will be involved in the completion and signing of this document. The Scope of Work form can be found in the ‘resources’ section of this website.
- Orientation – At the beginning of the semester, the community partner should schedule time to provide an orientation to students who will be involved in the SL project—either during class time or on-site. Orientation should include a discussion of the issue, agency background/history, and an overview of the project.
- Mid-Semester Check In – A mid-semester meeting provides time for faculty and community partners to assess the progress of the project, determine if any changes to the Scope of Work are necessary, and address any challenges or concerns.
- Assessment – After the completion of the semester and the project, community partners, faculty, and students complete a short survey assessing their experience, determining impact, identifying areas for improvement, and sharing accomplishments.