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Planning for Classes: Policies and Resources

7.6 Community Engaged Learning

Why Consider Community Engaged Learning at Fordham University?
Fordham University is a Jesuit institution which is defined by the interplay between its institutional character and environment. That synergy creates distinctive knowledge for students, scholars, and the whole human family (CUSP 2015). Spurred by the concept of “bothered excellence” with restless hearts and a curiosity that resists complacency, Fordham’s students and scholars seek new answers to persistent challenges. It is from these core convictions that the commitment to engaged scholarship and community engaged learning (CEL) is born. Academic knowledge informed by real-world experiences that is enveloped by deep reflection will result in lifelong learning.

What is Community Engaged Learning?
Community engaged learning (CEL) is a pedagogical approach that is rooted in the concept of engaged scholarship (public scholarship, civic engagement, community engagement, community-based learning, service learning, and experiential learning, etc.) and is one of the modes of integrating the classroom and curricula in the context of community. It is founded upon the premise that the most profound learning comes from experience that is supported by broad academic knowledge, intellectual analysis blended with thoughtful reflection which informs future action. The Center for Community Engaged Learning team supports faculty in the development and teaching of CEL courses and all courses related to engaged scholarship. Dynamic learning occurs when students combine thoughtful knowledge, personal observation, and community interaction with reflection on a course's themes.

What is a Community Engaged Learning Course?
What is a community engaged learning (CEL) course? CEL courses are courses tied to faculty members' teaching/research, connected to a form of student experiential learning (service learning, civic engagement, or experiential learning), with an intentional form of reflection (Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm and/or Kolb’s Theory of Experiential Learning), and tied to a public purpose, with the intent of being transformative for the student scholar and the community partner. The aspiration is that once students completes a CEL course they are able to understand the academic underpinning of a particular public issue, and that knowledge is expanded with experience in a community context while being molded by solid reflection which leads to more intelligent action. The goal is that these courses develop students’ capacity to become scholars and civic leaders.

Each course should have the following elements:

  1. An academic credit-bearing course taught by a member of the instructional staff within an undergraduate school, department, or program.
  2. Typically including 20-30 hours of direct community engagement/partnership and/or programs promoting community engagement contributing to larger goals of the course.
  3. Completion of graded, course-appropriate integrative writing.
  4. Includes structured and intentional reflection.
  5. Employs both formative and summative assessment of the learning experience.
  6. Guides students towards the following learning milestones:
    1. To cultivate community engagement and foster compassion in solidarity with marginalized communities.
    2. To foster a realistic worldview.
    3. To encourage the promotion of justice.
    4. To engage the Ignatian pedagogical paradigm.
    5. To pursue a spirit of civic engagement and lifelong learning.

The organization for the Center for Community Engaged Learning is in its inaugural year. There will be additional training and support forthcoming. If you have questions or need support, please call 718-817-4510 or visit 205 McGinley at the Rose Hill campus or call 212-636-7464 or visit Lowenstein 217B at the Lincoln Center campus.