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    Weber State University
  Feb 23, 2018
2013-2014 Catalog ARCHIVED CATALOG: Content may no longer be accurate.

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Center for Community Engaged Learning

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Director: Dr. Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski (801) 626-7737
Office Manager: Carla Jones
Location: Center for Community Engaged Learning, Shepherd Union, Suite 327
Internet Address:

The Center for Community Engaged Learning at Weber State University facilitates both curricular and co-curricular community engaged learning experiences.  Courses designated as Community Engaged Learning (CEL) are designed to provide students learning opportunities through real life experiences and application of knowledge in the community. These courses provide a structured approach to learning and teaching that connects meaningful community experience with intellectual development, personal growth, and active citizenship. Community engaged learning enriches coursework by encouraging students to apply the knowledge and analytic tools gained in the classroom to the pressing issues affecting local communities.

Community engagement describes the collaboration between Weber State University and our larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity (Carnegie Foundation).  Community engaged learning therefore can take on many forms, from individual volunteerism to organizational involvement to electoral participation. It can include efforts to directly address an issue, work with others in a community to solve a problem or interact with the institutions of representative democracy. Community engagement encompasses a range of specific activities such as volunteering at a homeless shelter, serving on a neighborhood association, writing a letter to an elected official or voting. The underlying principle of community engaged learning is that an engaged citizen should have the ability, agency and opportunity to move comfortably among these various types of civic acts (Pew Charitable Trusts).

Three particular tracks of Community Engaged Learning are promoted at Weber State University – service, democratic engagement and community research.

Service is conceptualized in broad terms to be inclusive of service-learning, volunteer and community service experiences that enhance the capacity of the community while teaching the student.  This teaching and learning approach integrates community service with academic study to enrich learning, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities (National Commission on Service Learning, 2002).

Democratic engagement involves students in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and action to make a meaningful difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes (from the American Democracy Project).

Community research involves students working with faculty members and community leaders to develop research projects, collect and analyze data, and share their results and conclusions with the organizations and agencies that need the information to solve a pressing community problem or create change (Strand, et al, 2003).

Regardless of the type of community engaged learning experience, students are expected to acquire four community engaged learning outcomes through their experiences: civic knowledge, civic skills, civic values, and civic action.  Community engaged learning outcomes, definitions, and measurement rubrics can be found at


Community engaged learning is not specific to any one discipline; in fact, CEL courses exist in many disciplines across campus. For example, an Athletic Training class incorporates a service component wherein students are utilizing their knowledge and skills gleaned from class to serve patrons at a local free medical clinic.

Community Engaged Learning courses are designated with a CEL prefix and are listed in the course schedule published online each semester. Additionally, a full list of CEL designated courses can be found on the Center for Community Engaged Learning website at


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