Community Engaged Learning (CEL) is a process that connects concepts in the classroom to service experiences in the community. The Sundborg Center for Community Engagement (CCE) works with instructors to identify community organizations that offer CEL placements to Seattle U students. Learning in community isn’t charity, but rather an opportunity to engage in social change in the neighborhood.
In the process of cultivating community, students can develop authentic relationships, advocate for social change, and work to redistribute power. CEL asks students to go beyond direct service to examine the underlying social systems that perpetuate inequalities and explore ways to dismantle these systems. We believe that CEL is key to engaging student and community leaders who will positively transform our university and communities. Critical community engagement seeks to “deconstruct systems of power so the need for service and the inequalities that create and sustain them are dismantled” (Mitchell, 2008).
The CCE is enthusiastic about connecting students and faculty to community partner organizations. We work with community partners to determine if opportunities are a good fit for CEL courses and for sharing with our entire campus community. We also aim to connect partners and faculty through site visits, informal events and learning opportunities.