Interested in Partnering With the Center for Community-Engaged Learning?
The Center for Community Engaged Learning is the department on campus that supports community-engaged learning courses and advising individual students on volunteer opportunities in the Twin Cities. There are 3 main ways we connect students to community opportunities:
Community-Engaged Learning Courses
The model most often used at the U is having students work with an organization for 2-3 hours/week over the course of the semester. Students bring into class the experiences that they are doing and learning in the community and connect it to course content. Partnerships between community organizations and courses are based on the learning connections that exist between the course content and the opportunities available to students at the organization. These experiences can be direct service, project-based, research-based, individual and/or team based.
For example, the course in Curriculum and Instruction: "Basics in Teaching English as a Second Language" has students working with Adult ESL programs.
CCEL has a peer advising program that is available to anyone on campus interested in connecting to volunteer opportunities in the twin cities. This program promotes a broader range of opportunities than community-engaged learning because it does not have some of the constraints that courses have (match to course content, limited time span, etc). CCEL peer advisors meet one-on-one with students to talk about their interests, time availability, professional goals, transportation, and then make recommendations on organizations that would be good matches based on their interests. Most of the people that visit for advising are undergraduates but we do occasionally have graduate students, faculty, and administrative staff as well.
The main tool we use to advise students is our Google map of community organizations.
Community Engagement Scholars Program
The Community Engagement Scholars Program is an honors-like program for students who make a serious commitment to community work. It is an academic career long program that requires students to complete 400 hours of community work, take 8 credits of service-learning courses, and complete a senior capstone project with a community organization. Students can work locally, nationally, and/or internationally and often connect to organizations through a community-engaged learning course or volunteer advising.
What is the criteria for partnering with the Center for Community-Engaged Learning?
There are a couple of different factors CCEL looks at when establishing partnerships with organizations. One of the most important things is whether or not the organization has the capacity to support student volunteers. This means having someone that can train and supervise the students' work at the organization. We do take location into consideration for partnership. Although we have partners all over the Twin Cities, we do find that the majority of the students are using public transportation and thus are looking for opportunities that are in Minneapolis and St. Paul (or at least on a bus line).
Because we are a public institution, we also have new partner organizations complete a questionnaire that helps us understand if an organization's practices are aligned with the University's policy around equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Non-Discrimination in community work
According to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents policy on Equity, Diversity, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, the University shall:
"Provide equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression."
All CCEL partner organizations must verify that the engagement opportunities they offer to students are in compliance with this policy.
Faith-based organizations, including religious institutions such as churches, mosques, synagogues, or temples, can be community-engaged learning sites as long as they comply with the U of MN's non-discrimination policy. However, service done as part of an academic course cannot include any of the following religious activities: providing religious education/instruction, worship activities, or any form of proselytizing.
If the above information and criteria align with the opportunities that you have available please contact our office at [email protected] or 612-626-2044.
Other ways to connect to the University of Minnesota
There are many other ways the community organizations can connect to the University. If you are looking to partner beyond the work of the CCEL, a good first step is visiting the Office for Public Engagement's website. You can also submit an idea for partnership through OPE's website.
If you want to post volunteer, internship, and job opportunities to U of MN students set up an account on Handshake.