Community Engaged Learning

In the February edition of Edubytes, our guest editor is Community Engaged Learning Officer at the UBC Centre for Community Engaged Learning, Bruce Moghtader. He shares what Community Engaged Learning is, its benefits for faculty and students, as well as resources and funding opportunities that the UBC’s Centre for Community Engaged Learning Community has available to the UBC Vancouver teaching and learning community.

Community Engaged Learning

The Centre for Community Engaged Learning Community (CCEL) supports and advances the successful integration of community engaged learning into courses and programs. Community Engaged Learning (CEL) is a form of experiential education that combines academic learning with meaningful contributions to the community. It provides students with relevant professional skills through a combination of action and reflective activities (Kalas & Raisinghani, 2019; McPhee & Przedpelska, 2018).

Achieving optimal outcomes in CEL (e.g. critical thinking and civic responsibility) necessitates an amalgamation of classroom learning with community learning, and entails both the collaborative design of student activities and projects with community partners, as well as the preparation of students for their engagement with the community (Taylor, et al., 2015) (PDF). The transformative learning experiences that result from CEL serve to fortify community-university relationships by fostering ethical and reciprocal partnerships (Bain, 2018).

In alignment with institutional strategic frameworks for transformative learning, CCEL curated Teaching and Learning Resources for instructors engaged in teaching partnerships with the community. Moreover, the UBC Library and CCEL developed a comprehensive community engaged learning guide tailored for faculty, students, and staff interested in gaining deeper insights.

Recognizing the limited opportunities for faculty members involved in pioneering CEL practices to engage with peers across various academic disciplines, CCEL initiated the Community Engaged Teaching Fellows program in 2022. The program aims to elevate the visibility of knowledge, relationships and pathways in community engaged teaching. The Fellows program is a professional learning community guided by faculty members’ competencies and expertise (Borkoski & Prosser, 2020). Feedback from eight faculty members in the inaugural cohort indicated that the Fellows program is a substantial step toward demonstrating institutional commitment to engaged scholarship.

At its core, Asian Canadian and Asian Migration (ACAM) seeks to address and elevate the histories, cultures and politics of Asian Canadian and diasporic communities. We approach our work through community engaged praxis to ensure that this work is done with rather than for our communities. It was a pleasure to share ACAM’s commitment and experiences with my fellow CCEL Faculty Fellows, and to […] learn from others about their own community engaged practices in classroom and community settings.

John Paul (JP) Catungal, Ph.D. Assistant Professor (Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice), University of British Columbia, Unceded Musqueam Territories / Vancouver

Engaged scholarship is a growing movement that integrates teaching, service and research through meaningful co-creation of knowledge among scholars, educators, and community leaders. Engaged teaching facilitates students’ ability to combine theory and practice, and brings about social change through learning opportunities with various audiences guided by intentional arrangements (Beaulieu & et al., 2018). The Fellows program enables UBC Vancouver faculty members to delve into the key principles, processes and objectives of community engaged scholarship.

As an incentive for their active participation and contribution, Fellows are eligible to receive a grant of up to $5,000. This grant supports faculty members with the effective development, delivery, and sustainment of CEL within their respective courses and programs. CCEL is currently inviting expressions of interest from faculty members considering how to design, innovate, or enhance community engaged courses. The deadline to express your interest to join the 2024 Community Engaged Teaching Fellows program cohort is April 30, 2024. For more information on key topics and themes of the program, please refer to the Community Engaged Teaching Fellows website.

Additional resources

Community Campus Engaged Canada is a national network and community of practice that fuels authentic research, learning, and creative partnerships that fuels authentic research, learning, and creative partnerships between academic institutions and community organizations. They offer resources on subjects such as CEL peer networking and Community-campus responses to crisis. Browse CCE Canada resources.

Campus Compact is a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. They offer events, programs, opportunities and resources to support leaders, faculty, staff, and students as they build the knowledge, skills, and capacity needed for effective community and civic engagement. Browse Campus Compact resources.

Enjoyed reading about Community Engaged Learning? Learn about other topics we covered in the February 2024 edition by reading the complete Edubytes newsletter. To view past issues, visit the Edubytes archive.

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