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We are proud of the work we are doing at the Center for Community Engagement (CCE). Below you will find qualitative data from the CEL Institute, Bonner Institute and the Center as a whole. Please read the Center’s newsletter for narratives on the work we do. To view the Center’s quantitative data, please look at our 2022-2023 CCE annual report. You can see specific focus areas, objectives, and projects we are working on in our strategic plan.

CEL Institute

Through multiple programs for varying levels of education, the Community Engaged Learning (CEL) Institute provides a plethora of opportunities for students to learn about social issues, provide service to the community, and reflect on their identities in relation to those experiences. Since each student is required to take FYC 100 as their First-Year Community Engaged Learning (FYCEL) experience, they are given a solid foundation to continue practicing CEL throughout their education. Advanced CEL deepens the impact TCNJ has on the local community through curriculum created by participating faculty that addresses a community need.

First-Year CEL students are asked to complete a post survey to gauge if the FYC 100 course satisfied specific learning goals. Of the students that completed the survey, 93% of students agreed that their FYCEL course was overall a valuable experience.

Majority strongly agree.

“Within CEL I was able to further understand my personal values and learn how I can apply them in my life. I believe that I will be an active community member and provide support using the valued information I learned in this course.”


Bonner Institute

With 85 Bonner Scholars serving 15 community partners, the Bonner Institute strives to create both a learning experience for students and service that assists community partners with their needs. Bonner Scholars complete Grade the Day surveys to evaluate the efficacy of the programming for meetings. In these meetings, Bonner Scholars gain knowledge and reflection through carefully planned curriculum. There are cultural competency, social identity, and civic engagement components incorporated into the program. Results from the Fall 2020 All Bonner meetings showed 94.6% of Bonner Scholars graded the meetings within the A range, with 5.4% assigning a B range grade.

95% in the A range.

“I learned about the importance of working within your community to enact change related to social justice. There is a lot of work to be done but change is possible when communities come together to achieve a common goal.”



Faculty Fellow

Dr. Robert McGreevey, professor of History, is the Center for Community Engagement faculty fellow. He has been instrumental in providing the Center with faculty perspective through the creation of the strategic plan and other Center operations.

Faculty Highlight

Dr. Monisha Pulimood is the Barbara Meyers Pelson Chair in Faculty-Student Engagement, Professor and Chair in the Department of Computer Science. Dr. Pulimood has been instrumental in coordinating Collaborating Across Boundaries to Engage Undergraduates in Computational Thinking (CABECT) at TCNJ. CABECT is funded by the National Science Foundation. She moderated the Annual Barbara Meyers Pelson Lecture Series: Collaborating Across Boundaries (CAB) to Solve Complex Problems in November 2020. Learn more about her work with the program here.

Faculty Publication: Civic Engagement Across the Computing Curriculum

Authors: Mark Goadrich, Michael Goldweber, Matthew Jadud, S. Monisha Pulimood & Samuel A. Rebelsky

Abstract: “As outlined in the ACM Computer Science Curricula 2013 Guidelines section on Social Issues and Professional Practice, “Students must also be exposed to the larger societal context of computing to develop an understanding of the relevant social [and] ethical … issues.” In this panel, we demonstrate diverse approaches used to achieve this goal with respect to civic engagement. Drawing from experiences with non-major, introductory computing, mobile applications, software engineering, and interdisciplinary courses, we discuss how to move beyond surface-level discussions of ethical case studies toward an integration of civic engagement activities and personal reflection into standard computing curriculum.”


Faculty Publication: Service learning: Nursing students’ civic engagement with diverse populations of children with special needs

Authors: Rahshida Atkins, Mary Ann Dugan, Tami Jakubowski, Tracy Perron, Deborah King, Madeline McSweeney, Vyacheslav Ivanof, &Shanda Johnson

Abstract: “There is limited knowledge of nursing students’ perspectives about engagement with special needs populations. The purpose of this study was to identify the advantages/benefits and disadvantages/challenges of nursing students’ engagement experience with children with special mental and physical disabilities. Recommendations to enhance student engagement experiences were also provided.”


Faculty Publication: Focus Group Discussions in Community-Based Participatory Research to Inform the Development of a Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Educational Intervention for Latinas in San Diego

Authors: Jessica L. Barnack-Tavlaris, Luz Garcini, Olga Sanchez, Irma Hernandez & Ana M. Navarro

Abstract: “The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the usefulness of formative focus groups as a community-based participatory research (CBPR) method in developing cancer education programs. Two focus groups were conducted according to CBPR principles, in order to develop a community-competent human papillomavirus (HPV)/cervical cancer educational program for Latinas living in the USA/Mexico border region. Focus group participants were 18 female Mexican American community health advisors. Participants reported that there is limited information and many myths about HPV and the vaccine in the Latino/Latina community, along with many barriers to acceptance of HPV/cervical cancer-related information. Furthermore, participants discussed their recommendations for the development of a culturally appropriate HPV educational program. From these data, we have a better understanding of the HPV/cervical cancer educational approach that will be most accepted in the community and what key information needs to be provided to women who participate in the program, which reinforces the importance of the CBPR approach to the formative phase of cancer education program development.”


Faculty Publication: Nurturing a global ecojustice consciousness among preservice teachers through critical place-based learning

Authors: Greer C. Burroughs & Marissa E. Bellino

Abstract: “Global environmental challenges brought on by over-consumption, limited resources, and climate change will task teacher education programs to prepare teacher candidates with new paradigms in problem- solving, collaboration, and innovation. Skills such as collaborating across cultures and borders, thinking critically and creatively, reflecting on deeply embedded assumptions, and negotiating uncertainty will all be needed to surmount these challenges. EcoJustice education addresses these needs. When combined with critical place-based pedagogies, skills, and attitudes associated with global citizenship may also develop. Four preservice teachers participated in a research trip to Lesvos, Greece, to learn about and aid in the refugee crisis there. Participants documented their experiences via critical reflections and dialogues and analyzed these data. Findings suggest that through engagement in a critical place-based learning experience, preservice teachers challenged conceptions of their role as Americans and shifted towards a more global, EcoJustice consciousness.”


Faculty Publication: Short- and Long-Term Outcomes of Community-Based Art Education among Students in Higher Education

Authors: Caroline Blatt-Gross

Abstract: “Advocating for the academic value of community-based art education requires empirical evidence that students are not just participating in community-building activities, but also effectively learning content. Unfortunately, little is known about the short- and long-term cognitive outcomes on student participants, particularly in higher education. Based in a phenomenological methodology with a reflective lifeworld research design, this longitudinal study seeks to understand the interwoven cognitive and social outcomes of participating in community-engaged art projects among college students. Informed by a theoretical framework in which CBAE situates learning in authentic social contexts, findings suggest that it may be decisively poised to yield short- and long-term educational benefits in which student learning deepens through the development of social connectedness. These findings expand the possibilities for collaboration as a pedagogical model for inclusive postsecondary education.”


Faculty Publication: Implementation and Outcomes of the Trauma Ambassadors Program: A Case Study of Trauma-Informed Youth Leadership Development

Authors: Jeanne Felter, He Len Chung, Amanda Guth & Stephen DiDonato

Abstract: “Community-based programs serve a critical need for vulnerable youth and families. In recent years, researchers and practitioners have urged programs to adopt a trauma-informed care (TIC) approach to address adversity in young people’s lives. The purpose of this article is to describe the implementation and outcomes of the Trauma Ambassador (TA) Program, a pilot youth leadership program guided by a community-university partnership that utilized a TIC approach in an underserved East North Philadelphia neighborhood. Fourteen youth engaged in interactive trainings to build their understanding of trauma and develop practical tools to support encounters with individuals with trauma histories. Focus groups and individual interviews were conducted to better understand program implementation and outcomes. Rich data emerged that identifies a myriad of ways that youth and their community might benefit from a program like the one described. The program successfully impacted participants, as TAs recognized their own trauma and were motivated to help others who may have trauma histories. This program provided quality youth development experiences, particularly with respect to trauma-informed care, and results support taking a holistic, healing-centered approach to foster well-being for youth and adult mentors.”


Faculty Publication:  Service Learning to Teach Harm Reduction for Counselors in Training

Authors: Sandy Gibson & Abigail Emmert

Abstract: This qualitative study examines service learning though cultural immersion of counselors-in-training with a harm reduction site serving people who use drugs. Such cultural immersion through service learning can expand counselor self-awareness by reflecting on attitudes and beliefs, building knowledge about drug use culture, and observing advocacy interventions. The counselors-in-training self-reflection peers on this service learning experience reflect key themes including: reframing addiction assumptions, origins of personal bias, and commitment to future practice. Specifically, this paper looks to analysis the combined experiences of harm reduction training and service learning for students in a counselor education program.

Site: Book chapter available here.

Faculty Publication:  Applying Design Concepts for the Cultivation of Cross-University Partnerships

Authors: Ralph A. Gigliotti, Sunita Kramer & Dee Magnoni

Abstract: “Representing distinct parts of Rutgers University—academic innovation and experiential learning, organizational leadership and strategy, and the university library—the authors approach this discussion of agility and cross-university partnerships from three distinct vantage points. Despite different administrative portfolios and scholarly and professional interests, the authors collectively view this moment as one of profound opportunity for our institution and for higher education more broadly. Purposeful collaborations have contributed to new and innovative partnerships that will be discussed in this chapter, including a new learning community for interested members of the New Brunswick Libraries—The Hatchery, a dedicated design thinking and ideation studio centrally located in the Archibald S. Alexander Library—and varying points of convergence with the Innovation, Design, and Entrepreneurship Academy (IDEA) that integrates design and entrepreneurial thinking and leadership development into the Rutgers student experience.”


Faculty Publication: Borderline Citizens

Authors: Robert C. McGreevey

Abstract: “Borderline Citizens explores the intersection of U.S. colonial power and Puerto Rican migration. Robert C. McGreevey examines a series of confrontations in the early decades of the twentieth century between colonial migrants seeking work and citizenship in the metropole and various groups—employers, colonial officials, court officers, and labor leaders—policing the borders of the U.S. economy and polity. Borderline Citizens deftly shows the dynamic and contested meaning of American citizenship.”

Site: Book site

Faculty Publication: Encouraging CS students to compute for social good through collaborative, community-engaged projects

Authors: S. Monisha Pulimood, Kim Pearson & Diane Bates

Abstract: “Which pedagogical techniques better engage computer science (CS) students in computing for social good? We examine this question with students enrolled in classes using the Collaborating Across Boundaries to Engage Undergraduates in Computational Thinking (CABECT) pedagogical model, that pairs CS and non-CS courses with a community partner to propose solutions to a local problem. Pre- and post-tests of self-assessed concerns about civic responsibility, global responsibility, and local civic efficacy were administered to the students in a three-year long pedagogical experiment, which paired five CS courses with five journalism courses. While CS students were not statistically different from their journalism peers in pre-test measures of social and global responsibility, they lagged behind in local efficacy. In the posttest, CS students had significantly increased their sense of local efficacy to the extent that they were statistically indistinguishable from journalism students. Community-engaged learning projects, such as the one in the CABECT model, show great potential for attracting students to computing for social good.”


Faculty Publication: A Sense of Place: Creating Spaces for Intercultural Learning in Study Abroad

Authors: Ann Warner-Ault, Isabel Maria Kentengian & Jon W. Stauff

Abstract: “Popular study abroad locations present challenges for faculty seeking to provide opportunities for meaningful engagement with the host community. The authors describe how a medium-sized state college in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. and the Universidad de Alcalá (UAH) partnered to develop a transformative semester-long study abroad program, promoting community engagement, language acquisition, and personal development. They describe how a resident faculty director can create spaces for intercultural learning in both traditional classrooms and off-campus sites through projects that develop an ethos of sustained engagement and deep reflections, thereby empowering students to immerse more deeply in their host community. Insights from Lave and Wenger’s social learning community of practice model provide a novel way to frame study abroad praxis. The authors’ experiences suggest that a study abroad community of practice, rather than serving to isolate members from the local community, can serve as a safe-space and catalyst for active engagement with it.”


Faculty Publication: Community Engaged Learning in Journalism and Multimedia Courses

Authors: Kathleen Webber & Kim Pearson

Abstract: “Instructors in journalism programs in this period of evolution are searching for ways to strengthen and apply students’ skills in multimedia writing and content production. They are also looking for opportunities to engage students in problem-solving in their local communities, using what they have learned in the classroom. A municipal election posed a chance to create a voter education website that would benefit various stakeholders in the nearby urban community. Working with a community group, instructors and students set goals for a multimedia website to inform and entice voters to participate in the 2014 Trenton mayoral election. The two-semester, year-long project included the work of 120 students at different skill levels and no previous in-depth knowledge of the city’s history, current challenges, or of municipal elections. The course taught students to consider the history of the city, learn about the issues it faced, and to explore the role of media in stimulating community involvement. They developed critical thinking skills, learned about user-centered design principles, collaborated with students of different majors to tell digital stories, and decided how to best inform voters through the content they produced for this WordPress site. At the end of the course, students reported higher levels of interest in their community and in real-world projects with deadlines as well as projects that would have a life after the semester’s end.”

Site: Article link 



Center for Community Engagement
Forcina Hall, Room 337
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628