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Cowles Library


Community Engaged Learning Tool Kit: Welcome

This research guide highlights resources for those interested in the pedagogy of community engaged learning. Included are sample syllabi, reflection resources, possible outlets for publishing on the topic and more!


There are many ways to integrate community activities into a course. We recognize that CEL extends beyond traditional service-learning and may include a field experience, practicum, internship, capstone, research project, clinical, co-op, or co-curricular activity. See our philosophy page for specific definitions of service-learning, community engagement, etc. The experience may be a direct service/activity, or research, or other off-site work that benefits a community partner. Community Partners may be public, community-based, private, an industry business or academic organization working at the individual, neighborhood and city, regional, state, national, or international levels.

Courses with the CEL attribute must contain the following components:

  • Learning Outcomes: The community engagement activity is tied to one or more course learning outcomes.
  • Application and Integration: Guided by their instructor and working with a community partner, students engage with a community issue (local, regional or global), integrating theory and practice.
  • Reciprocity: The community experience seeks to offer value to the community partner as well as to the students.
  • Reflection and assessment: Students intentionally participate in reflection on the community experience (ethical and civic dimensions), the discipline and themselves.

To apply the CEL attribute to a new or existing course, fill out the request form or contact the CEL Director. Courses can carry the tag just once or every time they are offered.

Recommended Readings for Beginners

State & National Resources

Campus Compact   

A comprehensive site that includes resources for service-learning practitioners, including faculty, presidents, administrators, and students. Includes model programs and sample syllabi, a calendar of events, extensive links to web resources, job listings, news, information on grants and fellowships, legislation, a special section for community colleges, and much more.



Break Away: The Alternative Breaks Connection
Break Away is a national nonprofit organization that promotes the development of quality alternative break programs through training, assisting, and connecting campuses and communities.