This year’s Community Engaged Learning Initiative project, The Civic Learning Demonstration Project: Pursuing Frameworks for Engaged Departments, will play a key role in guiding Montclair State University in its transformation to a more civic engaged curriculum. This project will target academic departments as anchors of institutional commitment to civic engagement; and it will expand faculty involvement at the department level, increasing opportunities for its student majors. More so, this project will explore ways departments can use knowledge and skills from its major to create more just and flourishing communities, and reciprocal, generative community partnerships. Our project builds on existing institutional structures, programs, partnerships, to enhance community-engaged activities (pertaining to pedagogical, scholarly, and co-curricular endeavors) in ways that advance civic learning on campus, build links to the Bonner Leader Program, and reflect the direction and standards of the larger community engagement movement.
There are four project leaders that will be working to coordinate the efforts of The Civic Learning Demonstration Project; Bryan Murdock, Krystal Woolston, Dr. Todd Kelshaw, and Dr. Caryn McTeigh Musil. The additional faculty involved include Bond Benton, Ariane Hoy, Julian Brash, Cortni Borgerson, Elsa M Davidson, Elizabeth Emery, Julie Farnum, Thomas Franklin, Elaine Gerber, Kathleen Loysen, Aihua Li, Christopher Matthews, Katherine McCaffrey, Helen M Roberts, Peter Siegel, Maisa Taha, Ashuwin Vaidya, Neeraj Vedwan, Kelly Whiteside, and Marylou Naumoff. “We believe there is very strong alignment between the mission and goals of the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) and the goals of the Bonner Community-Engaged Learning Initiative (CELI).”
The departments involved include:
The Civic Learning Demonstration Project: Pursuing Frameworks for Engaged Departments, would be the realization of a long-term goal of the CCE and its Community Engaged Teaching Fellows (CETL) program to embed civic learning and democratic engagement into academic departments and curriculum. It represents the next step toward advancing the University’s civic and community engagement mission while providing critical support for the CCE to advance important institutional change within the University that reflects the direction and standards of the larger community engagement movement.
The Civic Learning Demonstration Project will conceptualize additional frameworks whose commitments to equity, justice, and the public good derive from within the departmental disciplines themselves. This inside/out strategy promises to be a catalyst for more lasting institutional change, within and through departments, and to generate a wider range of community/campus partnership options. The overarching, long-term goal is to develop knowledge about fresh, effective practices for developing community-engaged departments, positioning departments to be more fully involved in broad-scale work that will be required when MSU implements the new community-engaged course requirement.
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