Overview of Program
Southern Utah University’s prestigious Community Engaged Scholar Program offers an official way for students to integrate service and other types of community engagement into their college experience. Participating students do volunteer work, community engaged coursework, community-based research, and special projects shaped by their individual interests and community needs.
The program is open to all degree-seeking undergraduate SUU students. Students must meet the following requirements to graduate with the Community Engaged Scholar recognition:
- 12 semester credit hours of Community Engaged Learning coursework.
- Overall GPA of 3.0 or better.
- 400 hours of community service and/or community engaged coursework.
- Community Engaged Capstone Project (CECP): A culminating experience designed by the student, recommended 40-50 hours to complete.
- CECP summary.
Community Engaged Capstone Project
The CECP’s service portion should be a minimum of 40 hours and be related to the student’s academic major. Hours devoted to the CECP will count toward the 400 hour total. The capstone project will be overseen by a faculty advisor.
To complete the program, each student is to submit a CECP summary (a minimum of seven typewritten pages) that includes an overview of the project’s development, an assessment of community need, and explanation of how the project addressed the need. The summary also will include a reflective component related to what the student learned through the service activity. This reflection piece may take a form appropriate to the CECP and the student’s area of academic study, e.g., prose, photography, interpretive dance, theatre, or other forms of expression. The summary can include (but is not required to include) a literature review or other scholarly materials that provide a context for the CECP within the student’s area of study.
Community engagement is collaboration between SUU students, faculty, and staff and larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership reciprocity. Community engagement enriches scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhances curriculum, teaching, and learning; prepares educated, engaged citizens; strengthens democratic values and civic responsibility; addresses critical societal issues; and contributes to the public good. (Adapted from the Carnegie Foundation.)
The Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) course designation encourages collaboration among faculty, students, and community partners in applying knowledge that fulfills pedagogical objectives and meets community needs. Community-Engaged Learning can include service, service-learning, and varied forms of community-based teaching, research, and creative endeavors.
As a pedagogy, Community-Engaged Learning includes the following fundamental elements:
- The academic content of the course(s) links clearly through community engagement.
- The community engagement component meets a need identified by/with the community partner(s).
- Students have structured opportunities to reflect on their learning experiences.
- In line with previous criteria for Service-Learning (SL) classes, CEL classes should have a minimum requirement of 20 hours of “engagement” for a 3-credit class, along with a weighting for that component of 20% or more of the final class grade. Where and when appropriate, learning outcomes should be aligned with those of departments, colleges, the University, and the Community Engagement Center.