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About the Community-Engaged Learning Program

Community-Engaged Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Through Community-Engaged Learning students have the opportunity for practical application of course materials and professional skills, while addressing a defined community need. Participating community organizations gain a fresh perspective on a project or issue and added capacity to better serve their community. Community-Engaged Learning aims to be a mutually beneficial relationship, improving learning experiences, prompting meaningful classroom reflection and discussion, and providing assistance to local governments, non profits, and the common good.

The Community-Engaged Learning Program works with community partners and faculty to find project matches that will benefit the community, while fitting into course learning objectives. The program also manages course designations  to ensure faculty and students are recognized for the work they are completing in the community. 



The term “service” in “service learning” has received some criticism, particularly from supporters who regard the pedagogy as a potentially powerful force for both education and community development. They have argued that the language of “service” can mislead students or faculty into relationships with communities that are not mutually beneficial, and thus work to reinforce stereotypes or inequalities. Insofar as students regard themselves as “working for” and not “working with” the community they may see the community partner through paternalistic lenses. At its worst, this may limit a community’s voice, limit the effectiveness of community-based projects, and reinforce campus-community inequalities.”

~Joe Bandy, Assistant Director, Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching

Contact Us

Kate Stephens

Kate Stephens

Associate Director
Center for Community Engagement

Phone: 435-797-8135
Office: USU Taggart Student Center, room 318

Kate Stephens is the Assistant Director of the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) at USU. Since 2013, she has directed USU’s Community Engaged Learning programs and initiatives. Kate is currently leading USU’s efforts to attain the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification. Prior to her current position, Kate served as the Utah Conservation Corps (UCC) AmeriCorps Program Director for 12 years. Kate has been a part of the national service movement for 25 years, serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA leader, a Peace Corps volunteer, an AmeriCorps program director, and AmeriCorps supervisor. She is the founder and former director of Common Ground Outdoor Adventures, a Cache Valley non-profit that provides adaptive outdoor recreation for people with disabilities. Kate has received local, regional and national recognition for her work to include underrepresented populations in outdoor leadership and national service. Kate has a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology and M.A. in Environmental Education.

Brhianna Malcolm

brhianna malcolm
Engagement Coordinator

Phone: 435-797-8135
Office: USU Taggart Student Center, room 302A

Since 2017, Brhianna Malcolm has been working with the Community Engaged Scholars Program and Student Sustainability Office in the Center for Community Engagement (CCE). She has a B.S. in Environmental Science and Minor in Biology from University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Prior to her involvement with CCESL, she held leadership positions with American Conservation Experience and Utah Conservation Corps. Brhianna has found the role of Community Engagement to be crucial in the development of USU citizen scholars. When not at work, you can find Brhianna on the trail with her dog Clover.

Nelda Ault

Service Center Coordinator

Phone: 435-797-1740
Office: USU Taggart Student Center, room 332

Nelda has been the advisor to the Val R. Christensen Service Center for four years. Her not-so-secret-agenda is to help students realize that Logan exists beyond their need to go to school and that there is a vibrant community with which they can engage through service. She’s been privileged to work alongside many local nonprofits, schools, and AmeriCorps programs to connect USU students with hands-on experiences. Nelda has an MA in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University, focusing on community-building and education. She is also a founding member of CRIC (Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection).