The College of New Jersey Logo

Apply     Visit     Give     |     Alumni     Parents     Offices     TCNJ Today     Three Bar Menu

Social Justice Minor ACEL Requirement

TCNJ’s Social Justice Minor requires students to complete an Advanced Community Engaged Learning (ACEL) experience. ACEL allows students to show that they are applying the knowledge gained from their education to practical projects delivered to a community partner. The goal of including a CEL component is not to add more work, but rather to connect learning to a community-identified need. These experiences aim 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.

The CEL Institute works one on one with Social Justice Minors to create the best individual plan for the student to fulfill the ACEL Requirement. If you need to fulfill an ACEL requirement, please contact Lori Johansson at

Components of ACEL Requirement

Education: The ACEL experience must connect three CEL learning objectives to their action with a community partner.

Action: Students must complete at least 20 hours of action. Action includes both direct & indirect service, advocacy, activism, and politics. The student should center the needs of the community partner and work collaboratively with them to create the project.

Reflection: Reflection is a key component of all Community Engaged Learning. If there is not already an established reflection activity for the student, the CEL Institute will provide a reflection survey.

CEL Learning Objectives

  • 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 prior 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.

Ways to Fulfill the Social Justice ACEL Requirement

Take ACEL Class
The CEL Institute has a list of ACEL classes that will fulfill the Social Justice Minor requirement. Students can reach out to the CEL Institute to inquire about available ACEL classes.

Add ACEL to Upper-Level Course
A student can incorporate community engaged research into an upper-level course. The student should speak with their professor to gain approval for this option. If a student is unsure of which class would be appropriate, CEL Institute staff are happy to look at the classes with the student and determine the best fit.

Research Project
A student can design a capstone-level research project. This is a great option if the student is already interested in a research topic. CEL Institute staff can help to think of an appropriate community partner.

Independent Study
A student can incorporate community engaged research into an independent study.

A student can complete an internship at a community-based organization or agency. This is the best option if a student already has an internship.

Next Steps

  1. Reach out to CEL Institute staff
    CEL Institute staff will assist in identifying the appropriate course or project so the student may return to their professor or faculty advisor for their consent in participation.
  2. Meet with your professor or advisor
    This meeting should happen before or early enough in the semester to ensure the proposal completion by the third Friday of the semester.
  3. Schedule a meeting with both professor or faculty advisor and CEL Institute Staff
    If you are working with a professor to complete the ACEL requirement, you can schedule a meeting with both the professor and CEL Institute staff to ensure all roles are clear for the project.
  4. Complete the enhancement proposal form
    In the enhancement proposal, the student will provide information on the required components. After the enhancement has been approved, it will be designated as ACEL in PAWS by CEL Institute staff.

If you need to fulfill an ACEL requirement, please contact Lori Johansson at


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