The Office of Civic Engagement supports the efforts of the University to form partnerships with the communities it serves, working with them to respond to the problems, needs, and challenges they face. Its primary role is to support faculty seeking to incorporate community-based experiences into their research and teaching, so that both they and their students become more active, more effective, more creative agents through which the University promotes the well-being of the world beyond the campus.
Specifically, the OCE helps faculty develop and improve pedagogical skills and strategies that enhance both student academic learning and development of student civic capacity by including community-based civic engagement and service learning experiences in the courses they teach.
About Civic Engagement and Service Learning
Civic Engagement encompasses a range of activities in which members of the University - faculty, students, staff, administrators - work with persons and organizations in the communities the University serves in order to study and learn while strengthening the social, economic, political, and physical environments we share.
Service Learning is a teaching method that promotes student learning through active participation in meaningful and planned service experiences in the community that are directly related to course content. Through reflective activities, students enhance their understanding of course content, general knowledge, sense of civic responsibility, self awareness, and commitment to the community." (Citation)
Service learning might be characterized as a form of learning in context, or "learning by doing".
Benefits of Civic Engagement and Service Learning
Combining students' academic coursework with opportunities for authentic ("relevant") experiences enhances both their academic development as well as their readiness to take up their responsibilities as adult members of a democracy.
Civic engagement and service learning experiences:
- Help students develop stronger relationships with faculty and community
- Improve students' satisfaction with college
- Increase the likelihood of graduation
- Aid in student retention
Academically, students demonstrate significant improvement in several areas:
- Information literacy
- Articulated thinking about civic engagement
- Understanding of the connection between the university and public life
- Academic engagement
- Civic efficacy
- Positive social and self-perceptions
- Research-based writing
In short, undergraduate students learn better when they learn in context. Opportunities for civic experiential learning supply context.
New Director of Civic Engagement
Ellie Ertle has been selected as the new Director for the Office of Civic Engagement! Please contact her with any questions, concerns, or ideas at email@example.com.