The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching defines community engagement as the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.
The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.
Community-Engaged Learning (CEL)
formally referred to as service-learning
Community-engaged learning occurs at the intersection of teaching and community- engagement. Key components are: (1) that it enhances understanding of course content and is tied to specific learning goals through consciously designed reflection, (2) that one of the learning goals is civic engagement, intended to enhance students' sense of personal responsibility to participate in the public realm to address current pressing social problems, and thus going beyond the academic or skill based goals of the course, and (3) it is based on a reciprocal relationship through which the activities are planned and implemented through collaboration with a community partner to meet the challenges identified by that partner. Community-engaged learning must be an academically credited activity, requiring faculty guidance so the full learning potential is realized. Meaningful activities are related to course material through reflection activities such as directed writings, small group discussions, and class presentations.
Ethical Reasoning and Civic Engagement (ERCE)
The ERCE requirement is designed to connect academic courses with civic engagement, which includes individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern, and make a difference in the lives of our communities.
Courses center on student engagement with global and national problems with relevance to the Tampa Bay area. The goal of the ERCE requirement is to prepare students for public lives as citizens, members of communities, and professionals in society. Students will demonstrate awareness of – and respect for – competing values. Moreover, students will express their values in action within our communities in a process of positive civic engagement.
Community-Engaged Research and Scholarship
Community engaged research and scholarship consists of scholarly and pedagogical activities that are designed jointly and carried out in collaboration with potential benefit in local, regional, national, and global communities. Such engaged scholarship reflects a range of faculty work in communities from design and discovery to the integration and/or interpretation of discovery, to application with communities (locally and globally). Engaged scholarship is viewed broadly and with rigor.
Community-Engaged Outreach and Partnerships
Community outreach efforts include a continuum of mutually-beneficial engagement with the community, ranging from one-time efforts (e.g., conducting a workshop, bringing expertise to a problem-solving discussion, providing clinical/medical services, sharing expertise in a community theatre, or conducting a student service day project), time-limited activities (e.g., conducting an evaluation, field placement, alternative spring break service project), to ongoing partnerships that result in mutual capacity building.