Community Engagement - About
Community Engagement

Center for Community Engagement and Social Research


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Contact Information

Christian Reyes
Program Assistant
Carroll Hall, 326

Beth Frankel Merenstein
Associate Vice President for Community Engagement and Experiential Learning
Davidson Hall, 212.0201

What is CCESR?

What We Do 

The Center for Community Engagement & Social Research brings together the important work of community engagement and applied research. Our primary goal is to integrate teaching, research, and service through community engagement. Additionally, we want all students to engage in multiple experiential learning opportunities, for faculty to develop scholarship with a community focus, and for our community to work with us to address their most pressing needs.

Experiential Learning Opportunities

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    Community Engagement

    Community engagement is a method of research, creative work, teaching, and learning that emphasizes university-community collaboration characterized by mutual benefit and reciprocity. Specifically, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, defines community engagement as “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.”

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    Community-Based Research

    Community-based research rests on a very simple premise--communities have need for high quality research but limited resources with which to conduct or purchase those services while universities house significant amounts of research expertise. Community-based research thus provides a mechanism through which resources and needs can be matched.

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    Service Learning

    Service learning incorporates experiential activities, personal reflection, action in the community, and an examination of attitudes and values. These opportunities can be conducted through a course, a campus experience, or by a club or organization. Key aspects to service learning include a careful selection of a community partner and critical reflection about the experience.

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    Internships provide students with direct experience in a work setting – preferably related to their career path – and provides supervision from professionals in the field. Often taken for course credit. Can be paid or unpaid.

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    Volunteering allows students to give their time and labor for a community service. This can be a one-time or as-needed occurrence, or students can maintain a regular schedule for their volunteer work.

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    Undergraduate Research

    Undergraduate research involves students with opportunities to engage with hands-on research experience in both the sciences and social sciences. Students can gain experience with conducting interviews, creating and disseminating surveys, analyzing data, co-authoring reports, and more.