What is Community Engaged Learning?

Community engagement is collaboration between SUU students, faculty, and staff and larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership reciprocity. Community engagement enriches scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhances curriculum, teaching, and learning; prepares educated, engaged citizens; strengthens democratic values and civic responsibility; addresses critical societal issues; and contributes to the public good.

(Adapted from the Carnegie Foundation.)

Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) course designation encourages collaboration among faculty, students, and community partners in applying knowledge that fulfills pedagogical objectives and meets community needs. Community-Engaged Learning can include service, service-learning, and varied forms of community-based teaching, research, and creative endeavors.

As a pedagogy, Community-Engaged Learning includes the following fundamental elements:

  • The academic content of the course(s) links clearly through community engagement.

  • The community engagement component meets a need identified by/with the community partner(s).

  • Students have structured opportunities to reflect on their learning experiences.

  • In line with previous criteria for Service-Learning (SL) classes, CEL classes should have a minimum requirement of 20 hours of “engagement” for a 3-credit class, along with a weighting for that component of 20 percent or more of the final class grade. Where and when appropriate, learning outcomes should be aligned with those of departments, colleges, the University, and the Community Engagement Center.