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Community-Based Learning Courses

Community-based learning, including community service-learning, encompasses teaching, research and experiential learning that combines an authentic community or public service activity with academic instruction, focusing on critical, reflective thinking as well as evidence of civic responsibility and/or personal growth. The Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship (ICES) supports community-based learning in several ways:

With Faculty

  • Provide community-based learning course models and assistance with syllabus design
  •  Assist faculty in selecting appropriate community-based sites
  •  Act as liaison between faculty, community agencies and students with respect to community-based projects
  • Assist with assessment and evaluation tools
  • Connect faculty with appropriate bibliographical references
  • Connect new community-based learning faculty with veteran community-based learning faculty
  • Inform faculty of funding opportunities for community-based course development
  • Link faculty to national, regional and local resources and professional development options such as training, conferences and speakers.

With Students

  • Assist students with locating sites that are both appropriate to coursework and leverage studentsí interests and skills
  • Orient students to the community-based requirements of their coursework and community partner sites
  • Provide students with site descriptions and community partner contact information
  • Monitor studentsí progress and recommend adjustments, as necessary, to students, faculty and/or site supervisors
  • Provide students with ideas and methods to help them reflect on their community experience
  • Disseminate and collect pre- and post-experience surveys of learning

With Community Sites

  •  Develop community partnerships based on community interests and course objectives
  • Collaborate with community partners to develop appropriate site-specific training and orientation for students
  • Organize site visits to discuss faculty course goals and learning objectives
  • Maintain communication with community site staff to handle concerns and mediate resolutions
  • Disseminate and collect end-of-semester community partner evaluations, when applicable

Project SHINE

Project SHINE is an ongoing experiential learning opportunity that links college students with immigrants and refugees who are learning English and navigating the complex path to U.S. citizenship.

Project SHINE enables faculty members to integrate classroom teaching and relevant experience, providing students an opportunity to deepen theoretical understanding in a broad range of disciplines including communications, ethnic studies, English, political science, sociology, criminal justice studies, public policy and history. Students gain knowledge of diverse cultures and life experiences, develop skills beyond the textbook and find a powerful way to critically examine their academic studies. Participating students attend a Minnesota Literacy Council training covering basic ESL tutoring techniques, intercultural communication, immigration and the United States naturalization process, and complete 20 hours of tutoring at one of our 20 Twin Cities community partners.

Project SHINE began at Temple University in Philadelphia in 1997, and now operates at 17 colleges and universities in 15 urban centers across the nation. In Minnesota, Project SHINE is a joint effort of Metropolitan State University and Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Locally, approximately 20 courses and 150 students are involved with Project SHINE each year.

Community-Engaged Scholarship

The Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship fosters community-based scholarship in multiple ways. As funding is available, the ICES and the American Democracy Project provide grants to encourage and support academic inquiry that substantially involves the community. This involvement can take a variety of forms--from full partnership in all stages of a participatory research project, to cooperation in a community-based projectís design or funding, to coinvestigation in implementation, to being the beneficiary of findings or products.

Each year, the ICES sponsors campus wide forums designed to give students and faculty members a chance to share examples of engaged scholarship with the university community and their community partners. These events provide an excellent showcase of the quality community-based research and scholarly collaboration happening in all corners of the university.

Presidentís Circle of Engagement

The President's Circle of Engagement underscores the importance of the university's commitment to civic engagement, community partnerships and community-based scholarship. All courses with significant engaged learning components may be designated as part of the Circle. This special designation is open to all faculty members who wish to submit course syllabi and other relevant materials for acceptance into this important group of courses. A recognition reception, hosted by the president, is held annually for all participating faculty members.

Two significant tools are available to cultivate and reward engaged scholarship among faculty:

  • A framework for integrating community-engaged scholarship into Promotion and Tenure criteria; and,
  • Guidelines for faculty, outlined in University Procedure #256, for using one workload credit for specified service projects to the university and community.

The ICES Faculty Work Group, composed of a representative from each academic unit, works with ICES staff to develop and promote methods to strengthen engaged scholarship university-wide.



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