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Introductory & Advanced CEL

Beyond their First-Year Community Engaged Learning experience, students are encouraged to find additional learning opportunities that also have a positive impact on the community. Introductory Community Engaged Learning (ICEL) and Advanced Community Engaged Learning (ACEL) aims to have students develop the means to apply the knowledge they gain from academic experiences within the context of everyday community life, as well as understand how to be active and engaged citizens in a complex and diverse society.

ICEL includes a relevant educational experience based on the learning goals of the Center, a community-based activity that addresses a community-identified need and includes a reflection activity that helps students understand what they did, why they did it and what they can do next. The CEL team has developed educational modules that address the CEL learning goals and modules for reflection activities that can be used in curricular or co-curricular experiences to enhance service experiences and make them CEL. 

ACEL refers to all upper-level classes that allow students to apply their additional knowledge and enhanced skills to address a community need, as well as develop their own civic skills through an experiential learning opportunity. Through these experiences, students are given the opportunity to apply the content and theories they learn in the classroom to the real world in tangible ways.

ICEL includes:

  1. Meeting 2 learning goals with time during class to provide overview of CEL and reflection. 
  2. Project that addresses a community identified need through 10+ hours of service and includes a partner as co educator in course design, planning and implementation.
  3. Graded Assignment(s), including a reflection activity that helps students understand what they did, why they did it and what they can do next.

ACEL includes:

  1. Meeting 3 learning goals with time during class to provide overview of CEL and reflection. 
  2. Project that addresses a community identified need through 20+ hours of service and includes a partner as co educator in course design, planning and implementation.
  3. Graded Assignment(s), including a reflection activity that helps students understand what they did, why they did it and what they can do next.

The CEL team has developed educational modules that address the CEL learning goals and modules for reflection activities that can be used in curricular or co-curricular experiences to enhance service experiences and make them CEL.

Consultation and Convening

Consultation

CEL staff are available to help you to develop a community engaged learning project for your course.  Consultations can focus on:

  • Brainstorming 
  • Best practices for finding a community partner
  • Planning logistics
  • Preparation and reflection activities
  • Coordination with other campus initiatives 
  • Opportunities to connect with other community-engaged faculty
  • Other concerns or questions

To meet with CEL staff please fill out the Interest Form.  You will receive an email from CEL staff with an application or renewal form and the option to schedule a meeting with a staff member.

Convening

The CEL Institute does not have any events scheduled at this time. Please check back in the Fall to find out about potential events, workshops, or conference opportunities.

Planning and Goal Setting

During your consultation, the CEL Institute staff will cover themes on how you can design your CEL experience within a course’s curriculum. Below are a few of the topics that will be covered: 

Education: Integrating CEL outcomes into the curriculum

  • After reviewing your current learning goals, consider if there is an overlap between your learning goals and CEL goals. Is there space in the course to enhance learning by adding CEL goals? 
  • Specify the activities and assignments to achieve the learning goals and CEL outcomes of the course, as well as the methods for assessing and evaluating these goals and outcomes (See “Assessment and Evaluation”).

Service: Identifying and building a community partnership 

  • Work with the CEL Institute staff to identify a partner who has: (1) needs that relate to your course objectives and students’ abilities, (2) the capacity to collaborate with your course during the given semester, and (3) the potential for multi-semester sustainability that can lead to robust projects, future publications, and grant proposals.

Reflection: Incorporating reflection throughout the course

  • The CEL Institute staff can share sample reflection exercises and guiding questions in order for reflection to be facilitated through formal assignment and informal discussions.

ICEL/ACEL Proposal and Approval Process

  1. Fill out the Interest Form
    1. Suggested Timeline:
      1. For Fall Courses: January
      2. For Spring Courses: August
  2. You will receive an email from CEL staff with an application or renewal form. (Optional) Schedule one on one meeting with staff to brainstorm and/or fill out the application.
    1. Suggested Timeline: 
      1. For Fall Courses: February
      2. For Spring Courses: September
  3. You will be notified upon approval.
    1. Suggested Timeline: 
      1. For Fall Courses: March
      2. For Spring Courses: October

Student Preparation and Reflection

ICEL & ACEL Workshops

CEL staff can facilitate workshops for ICEL and ACEL courses to prepare students for service and to reflect on their experiences engaging with the community.

  • Community Engaged Learning Orientation: This orientation introduces the concept of Community Engaged Learning, ethical engagement practices, and the elements of building relationships with community partners/members.
  • History and Context of the Local Community: This workshop provides your students with the opportunity to learn about the history, systems, and structures that affect the community through a presentation and facilitated discussion. 
  • Trenton Tour: This workshop includes a brief presentation about Trenton and TCNJ’s relationship with the city followed by a driving tour of the city. Tours must be requested at least a month in advance and space is limited based on the number of tours offered each semester. 
  • First-Year CEL Refresher: CEL staff can provide a refresher on topics covered during students’ First-Year Community Engaged Learning requirement. Topics covered include: CEL, Trenton history and the desegregation of schools, personal and social identities, the cycle of socialization, The Danger of a Single Story, counternarratives, intersectionality, and different methods to engage with the community and social issues.
  • More workshops to come. Please reach out to CEL Staff if you have a specific topic in mind. 

Reflection Resources

Reflection is a key piece of CEL. Faculty and partners will build in time students to think critically about their CEL experiences and overall impact–both on the community and on the students.  Reflection should be incorporated throughout the CEL experience.

Additional Publications & Resources 

See our LibGuide for more Community Engaged Learning resources from the R. Barbara Gitenstein Library at TCNJ!

Logistics

An important aspect of CEL experiences is the opportunity for students to interact directly with the community partner. Please see below for necessary considerations:

  • At the beginning of the semester, students participating in CEL will need to fill out risk liability waivers and photo consent releases required by the College. 
  • The CEL Institute has access to TCNJ passenger vans on a limited basis. Vans are consistently in high demand and cannot be guaranteed. All van requests must be submitted at least one month before the date of the event.
  • The CEL Institute will assist in coordinating bus transportation if funding allows.
  • TCNJ’s Department of Facilities and Administrative Services also has campus fleet vehicles for TCNJ employee use.
  • In accordance with the TCNJ Student Travel Policy, all CEL-related student travel must be logged with the CEL Institute. 
  • For partners visiting campus, parking passes can be obtained with ample notice. 
  • In accordance with the TCNJ Working with Minors Policy, all CEL activities involving bringing minors to campus must be coordinated with the CEL Institute.

Please note any financial considerations necessary for the course such as, stipends for community partners and guest speakers, transportation (such as buses), additional materials for the project or events, etc. The CEL Institute has access to limited funding and can only assist with nominal costs per course.

Assessment and Evaluation

In conjunction with the CEL Council, the CEL Institute has developed a CEL Outcomes Rubric for assessment, which can be viewed here. CEL Institute staff can provide a post assessment survey for the CEL Outcomes, and/or provide guidance to adapt select questions into an assessment format of your choosing. ICEL courses are expected to address two of the six CEL outcomes below and ACEL courses are expected to address three of the six CEL outcomes below. 

  • Social Knowledge: Identify the causes of significant social issues
  • Diversity of Communities: Engage as part of diverse communities in culturally and contextually appropriate ways
  • Application of Knowledge: Analyze and address social issues using disciplinary and/or course-based knowledge and skills
  • Systems and Structures: Identify how systems of privilege and oppression affect individual and group opportunities and experiences
  • Civic Responsibility: Actively contribute to sustaining and enhancing communities as members of local, regional, national, and global communities
  • Civic Identity and Commitment: Demonstrate goals to live a life of critically informed community engagement

Class Lists

TCNJ Fall 2021 CEL Courses

TBD

TCNJ Spring 2021 CEL Courses 

  • AAS 321: Race, Gender, and the News with Kim Pearson collaborating with the FreePress’ News Voices Project (CAB)
  • ANT 341: Environmental Anthropology with Miriam Shakow collaborating with the FreePress’ News Voices Project (CAB)
  • CSC 315: Database Systems with John De Good collaborating with Trentoniana in Trenton, NJ (CAB)
  • CSC 415: Software Engineering with Monisha Pulimood collaborating with Capital City Youth Violence Coalition in Trenton, NJ (CAB)
  • ELC 251: Electrics I with Anthony Deese collaborating with the City of Trenton (CAB)
  • ETE 341: Environmental & Biotechnology Systems with Matt Cathell collaborating with General Raj Schools and Sprouting Stems in Delhi, India (CAB)
  • LIT 499: EcoCriticism with Glenn Steinberg collaborating with the Ewing Green Team (CAB)
  • LNG 371: World Englishes with Felicia Steele collaborating with Trentoniana in Trenton, NJ (CAB)
  • MGT/BUS 375: Innovation with Kevin Michaels collaborating with the City of Trenton (CAB)
  • SOC 345: Inequality, Pollution, & Environment with Diane Bates collaborating with the Ewing Green Team (CAB)
  • STA 498: Capstone with Michael Ochs collaborating with Capital City Youth Violence Coalition in Trenton, NJ (CAB)
  • WGS 350: Gender Equity in the Classroom with Marla Jaksch collaborating with General Raj Schools and Sprouting Stems in Delhi, India (CAB)
  • WGS 374: Ecofeminism with Janet Gray collaborating with TCNJ Campus on sustainability initiatives

Examples of TCNJ CEL Courses

AAV 370: Community-Engaged Art with Carolina Blatt

Spring 2018: AAV 370 introduced students to the complexities of community-based art through a study of the history, origins and controversies as well as contemporary issues surrounding the actualization of community art projects. Students learned from and partnered with several local Trenton artists on community-based art projects with support from the NJM Insurance Group Urban Innovation Fund. Community-based art projects included a photo and a mural installation in the Trenton community. The project culminated in Fall 2019 with an on-campus panel discussion and installation featuring Trenton artists, TCNJ faculty, and students. 

ANT 246: Climate Change and Society with Miriam Shakow

Fall 2017-2021: ANT 246 provides the opportunity for students to develop skills to take collective action on climate change and other social issues. The course is based on the framework of climate justice: the acknowledgment that the people affected most by climate change are the least responsible for causing it and that addressing climate change requires addressing the societal inequalities–racial, economic, gender, among others–that force vulnerable people to bear the brunt of the effects of climate change. Students learn how to bring about social change by carrying out a policy change campaign over the course of the semester.  Students work in groups to effect change on campus and in their community to fight climate change. Past and ongoing projects include promoting vegetarian and vegan foods on campus, Bee Campus USA, voting & policy advocacy, and reducing plastic waste on campus.

CSC 415: Software Engineering with Monisha Pulimood

Fall and Spring 2018-2021: CSC 415 introduces students to software engineering with an emphasis on collaborative problem solving and software application development. It aims to integrate the principles of computer science and other disciplines to develop systematic models and reliable techniques for producing high-quality software. Students work in groups to develop systems to address a community-identified need of a local partner. Past projects include a Volunteer Database System and a Donor Database for Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, developing a database system for the TCNJ Service Council to inform students of volunteer opportunities available for campus, and a Walking School Bus app for Mercer Street Friends. CSC 415 is currently a founding participant in Collaborating Across Boundaries, funded by the National Science Foundation, and partners with Michael Och’s STA 498 to identify specific challenges and questions related to data for the Capital City Youth Violence Coalition.

WGS 350: Gender Equity in the Classroom with Marla Jaksch & ETE 341: Environmental & Biotechnology Systems with Matt Cathell

Spring 2021: In a TCNJ Collaborating Across Boundaries partnership, students from WGS 350 and ETE 341 partnered with students at General Raj School (GRS), an affordable private English Medium school located in Delhi, India and Sprouting STEMS, a tier-one after school program for ages K–5. The collaborators developed a series of STEM based, transnationally informed, and intersectionality-situated design activities that was piloted with the Sprouting STEMS cohort. 

For examples of CEL Course Syllabi and Historical TCNJ CEL Course Lists, please request access to the CEL Faculty Resource Team Drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0ABtNQP-5yfqxUk9PVA

Contact

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

609.771.2548
bonner@tcnj.edu
tcnjcel@tcnj.edu

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