Commitment to Community Certificate Program
The Community and Civic Engagement Certificate Program is an optional offering available for students interested in integrating curricular and co-curricular learning focused on social justice in local, national and international communities. It is designed as an experiential, community-based service learning opportunity to advance the academic excellence of students as they investigate social inequities such as poverty and homelessness throughout their academic program of study. Service and community-based learning is considered a high-impact educational practice by Ashley Finley in Liberal Education & America’s Promise (LEAP). One of the essential learning outcomes referenced in her work is personal and social responsibility which includes civic knowledge; intercultural knowledge and competence; ethical reasoning and action; and foundations and skills for lifelong learning.
The certificate program offers powerful opportunities for real-world learning identified in the College’s Strategic Plan and provides pathways for students to strengthen the following Elizabethtown College Institutional Learning Goals:
- Navigate diverse cultural worldviews and perspectives, with the realization that differing frames of reference influence analysis, communication and behavior.
- Make reflective ethical decisions and act with integrity to seek just outcomes with relationships, communities and society.
- Apply and integrate different strands of learning and comprehend interconnections in the process of gaining knowledge and experience.
- Identify and cultivate a sense of purpose that inspires a commitment to meaningful work in the service to the community.
Additionally, the certificate programs’ goals align with the student learning outcomes of a number of departments across campus. However, there is a particularly close fit with the Education Department program of study. In particular, the CCCE supports the Education Department’s 1) mission to provide its students with the curricular and co-curricular experiences necessary to become thoughtful and responsible teachers who excel managing the social, intellectual, and professional challenges of today’s culturally diverse and inclusive classrooms; 2) its departmental student learning outcomes, particularly the SLO of teaching and advocacy for principles of social justice and civic competence; and 3) its signature attribute of social justice that is exhibited through a curricular focus upon advocacy for equity, civic engagement, global citizenship, and international/comparative perspectives.
Because of this unique alignment, the Center will pilot the certificate program with the Education Department during the academic year. The department faculty fully supports the launching of this pilot program and identified specific 100-400 level courses in which one or more course SLOs integrate with the certificate program SLOs. Students enrolled in these specified courses can apply for participation in the pilot certificate program.
- ED 105 Foundations of Teaching and Learning
- ED 150 Early Childhood Development
- ED 151 Early Adolescent/Adolescent Development
- SED 272 Learning Environments and Social Interaction in Inclusive Settings
- SED 282 Foundations of Inclusive Education
- SED 344: Intensive Reading, Writing and Mathematics Intervention
- ED 314 Family, School and Community Partnerships
- ED 305 Social Studies Methods
- ED 335/336 Methods of Teaching Mathematics in Early Childhood/Elementary Middle Level
- ED 360 Integrated Strategies for Creative Expression in Early Childhood
- ED 365/366 Methods of Teaching Social Studies in Early Childhood/Elementary Middle Level
- ED 495 Senior Seminar in Early Childhood
- ED 496 Senior Seminar in Elementary/Middle Level
- ED 497 Senior Seminar in Secondary Education
The Center for Community and Civic Engagement will provide local and national service-learning opportunities in rural and urban communities to support the SLOs for both the CCCE program and the Education Department. The goals of the certificate program are to 1) increase student awareness of inequitable conditions that exist in all societies; 2) promote student ability to view issues of social concern from multiple viewpoints and develop informed opinions related to these issues; 3) help students make real-world connections between curricular and co-curricular learning through carefully designed events and activities that focus on social justice issues; and 4) cultivate student capacity to take action in response to social inequities that exist in diverse community contexts.
At the onset of the pilot year, approximately 20 students will be selected to participate in the program. Students must submit an application and attach a letter indicating the reasons why they want to participate and how the program will enhance their learning outcomes of the CCCE designated course in which they are enrolled. If accepted, students must complete all of the following requirements by the end of the academic year.
- Attend an orientation for the Center for Community and Civic Engagement program at the start of the fall semester.
- Participate in 100 hours of community engagement by the end of the academic year, 80 hours of which must be from one of the Center for Community and Civic Engagement. Events/programs designated as experiential.
- Attend quarterly group reflection sessions with a faculty member and/or a Center for Community and Civic Engagement staff member.
- Provide verification from the instructor that the designated CCCE course was completed.
- Reflections about community and Civic Engagement activities that follow the Center for Community and Civic Engagement’s guidelines for high quality writing
- Evidence indicating how each Center for Community and Civic Engagement event/experience relates to the designated course and CCC E SLOs
- Submit a quarterly hours log.
- Adhere to the College’s Code of Conduct.
Student Learning Outcomes:
As an academic and service-based certificate program, student learning outcomes must be met for both the CCCE and the Education Department.
- Identify the critical components of service learning that are oriented toward community need, project completion, and the benefits that can be reaped by the community served.
- Demonstrates the qualities and dispositions that characterize a civic-minded individual who can work across differences in response to social inequities.
- Explain the connections between their academic and personal knowledge and skills, and the ways in which it can address social issues.
- Analyze the complex nature of social issues, the interrelationships among problems and solutions, and the process of social change that occurs over time.
- Demonstrate the knowledge, skills and dispositions to advocate for change in response to social inequities that exist in local, national and international communities.
Additionally, students will identify at least one learning outcome for the CCCE designated course in which they are enrolled, describe how it aligns with the certificate program, and provide the signature of the instructor indicating his/her agreement. For example, a student enrolled in SED 272 Learning Environments and Social Interaction in Inclusive Settings might select the course SLO of “Analyze the influence of families and peers on academic and social behavior, recognizing cultural, economic and linguistic diversity.” This information will be included on the CCCE application form completed at the start of the academic year.
Students must include 10 artifacts in the CCCE program portfolio that reflect all five assessment categories listed below. Students may also include these artifacts under the Social Justice section of the Education Department portfolio that is submitted at the time of provisional and formal acceptance into the Education Department program and at program exit.
- Integration of civic-mindedness and community engagement with self-identity
- Knowledge of how social issues are addressed and the complex process of social change
- Involvement in direct service, projects, or advocacy efforts in response to social inequities
- Collaboration with diverse groups and individuals to solve problems in a mutual or reciprocal manner
- Connections between academic and personal knowledge and skills to address social issues