Faculty and Staff Resources

Center for Community Engagement staff assist with every aspect of Community Engaged Learning course design and facilitation, from project scoping and partnership development to assessing student and community impact. We also guide faculty and students through the logistics of beginning their placements and can hold in-class workshops for students on the principles and practices of equitable community engagement.

Community Engaged Learning At Seattle University

Community Engaged Learning (CEL) is a credit-bearing educational experience that applies course material to contribute to equitable solutions for issues impacting one or more communities. Community engaged learning courses include reflection activities that integrate students' learning across classroom and community contexts.

Seattle University’s CEL efforts are guided by the following principles: 

  • Starting With Community 
  • Sustainability 
  • Critical Reflection 
  • Centering Equity 
  • Developing Leaders 
  • Collective Impact

CCE works with faculty from every school and college at Seattle University to integrate community engagement into their courses. While every discipline and partnership is unique, we define three major types of CEL courses:

  • Local Community Context: These courses support students to contribute to a more just and humane world by teaching them how issues are impacting a local community, showing them how others are responding to that issue and guiding them to take action.
  • Placement-based Courses: Students work with a community organization for a specified number of hours throughout their course. Faculty support students to connect their experiences to course content.
  • Project-based Courses: Students complete a project that responds to the needs and priorities of a community or community-based organization. Students learn through practicing skills and reflecting on how their work contributes to broader impacts.

Scholarship documents many benefits of CEL for students. Benefits include an increase in civic attitudes and civic mindedness, gains in interpersonal skills such as collaboration and teamwork, and strong professional formation (Matthews et al, 2016, Chittum et al, 2022). Significantly, underserved students who participate in CEL are more likely to graduate than those who do not participate in these experiences (Finley & McNair, 2013).

CCE supports faculty to facilitate transformative community experiences for students that address the needs and priorities of community-based organizations. We are here to help you explore:

  • Every stage of community engagement
  • Partnership assessment and selection
  • Connections with dozens of local organizations
  • Design and revise syllabi
  • Resources
  • Individualized support
  • Preparation for implementing your CEL course

CCE staff assists with every aspect of CEL course design and facilitation, from project scoping and partnership development to assessing student and community impact. We also guide faculty and students through the logistics of beginning their placements and can hold in-class workshops for students on the principles and practices of equitable community engagement.

Will you be teaching community engaged learning courseComplete our support request form to get started or learn more about how CCE can help. You can also browse our upcoming professional development opportunities 

We recommend getting in touch with us at least 10 weeks prior to teaching a new CEL course. 

Support Request Form

Take the first step by completing this support request form.

Ways To Engage

CCE works with instructors to identify community organizations that offer CEL placements and projects to students. Our staff hold long-term partnerships with over 100 community-based organizations (schools, nonprofits and government agencies) and can connect you to partner's with aligned goals and interests.

Find Partners In Our Community

Explore our list of Affiliated Partners on GivePulse, an online platform that allows community partners to post and manage engagement opportunities. Log in with your Seattle University credentials to filter by causes and types of opportunities.

CCE staff are here to brainstorm community engagement opportunities that fit your needs and connect you to interested partners. To get started, fill out our support request form.

Whether you are new to Community Engaged Learning (CEL) or are a seasoned CEL course instructor, CCE staff are here to support faculty to deepen their impact on students and community partners. Below are some of the primary ways we work with faculty across the university.

Workshops & Events

  • Every spring quarter, CCE offers an introductory four-part workshop series on Community Engaged Learning Pedagogy. Topics include foundations of CEL pedagogy, preparing yourself and your students for critical CEL, developing equitable partnerships, and designing effective reflection and assessment strategies for CEL. Faculty and staff are welcome to attend all four workshops or drop in for three or fewer. Participants who complete all four workshops will receive a $500 stipend.

    **The RSVP form for this spring's workshop series is now available. Click here to view dates and reserve your spot.**

  • The Community Engaged Learning Faculty Fellowship is a year-long, cohort-based program in which faculty receive resources, guidance, and community as they revise a syllabus to integrate community engaged learning. Fellows receive $2000 for completing the program.

    **Applications for the 2024-2025 CEL Faculty Fellowship are now open. View full program requirements and apply here.**

  • Local Immersions. One of CCE's goals is to partner with faculty and staff to develop relationships with community partners throughout Central Seattle. Local Immersions and other networking events offer faculty and staff a deeper understanding of local issues, plant the seeds for community partnerships, and help faculty and staff learn experientially with colleagues from across campus.

Want to stay up to date on CCE's professional development offerings? Sign up for our Faculty and Staff Newsletter by emailing Cecilia Morales

Individualized Support
CCE staff are available to consult with individual faculty as you develop and teach your CEL course. We can share resources and research-informed best practices for you or your students. To discuss the following topics and get started, please complete our support request form.

  • Preparing students for CEL
  • Teaching for social justice or DEI
  • Group facilitation
  • Developing CEL assignments
  • Assessment
  • Reflection
  • Partnership development and communication
  • Managing project-based work
  • Disseminating lessons learned

Interested in a particular type of professional development? Email Cecilia Morales with questions or suggestions for future programs.

CCE offers funding for faculty and departments to develop or deepen their community engaged pedagogy, connect with other engaged faculty across campus and develop authentic relationships with community partners.

Engaged Department Planning Grants

As part of Seattle University’s effort to reimagine and revise our curriculum, the Center for Community Engagement invites academic departments and their community partners to apply for mini grants of up to $10,000 to develop a sustainable commitment to CEL within the department’s curriculum. CCE recognizes that many institutional pressures, coupled with a lack of department-level infrastructure, present a challenge to fostering long-term, reciprocal academic department-community partnerships that are driven by community-identified priorities. Therefore, the aim of this grant is to support faculty and staff experts to develop community partnerships and revise their curricula to make CEL an essential part of their students’ education. This funding is made possible through the generosity of an individual donor to CCE. 

The annual funding cycle runs from July 1 to June 30 with the application process occurring in the spring quarter. To learn more about these department grants, email Cecilia Morales. 

CEL Fellowships

The Community Engaged Learning (CEL) Faculty Fellowship program is year-long professional development opportunity in which fellows are supported to integrate a community engaged component into an existing course.

Fellows participate in a three-day Summer Intensive on the theory and practice of CEL in early September and meet regularly throughout the year to support each other in the process of revising and teaching their course. Fellows also receive a stipend and individualized support from the program’s faculty director and CCE staff. 

Applications open during the spring quarter. Faculty new to CEL as well as experienced practitioners are welcome. The Community Engaged Learning Faculty Fellows Program is open to all faculty, tenure track and non-tenure track.

The Seattle University strategic plan calls for every student to have an opportunity to participate in at least one Community Engaged Learning (CEL) course during their undergraduate college experience. Expanding and deepening community engaged learning also offers many positive outcomes for Seattle and our region. We created a CEL Working Group to help lead these efforts in support of the university's Strategic Directions' Revise and Reimagine Curriculum (RRC) initiative.

Defining Community Engaged Learning (CEL)
Seattle University defines community engaged learning as a credit-bearing educational experience that applies course material to contribute to equitable solutions of issues impacting one or more communities. CEL courses include reflection activities that integrate students' learning across classroom and community contexts.  

Seattle University’s community engaged learning efforts are guided by the following principles:

  • Deepen Student Learning
  • Respond to Community
  • Sustainable Partnerships
  • Critical Reflection
  • Centering Equity
  • Developing Leaders
  • Collective Impact

Summary of Curriculum Recommendations
An expansive set of implications, considerations and supports for faculty and departments accompany the full set of curriculum recommendations. After extensive sessions reviewing needs and analyses through a multi-lens approach, the CEL Working Group presented their initial recommendations:

  • Requirement for all first year undergraduate students to take a University Core course preparing them to engage in the community.
  • Requirement for all undergraduate students to take at least one CEL course in either the Core or their selected program of study.
  • An option for undergraduate students to pursue a Community Engaged Learning UCOR Pathway. 

Every year, over 180 Seattle University faculty offer several hundred courses with a community engaged learning component engaging over 2,600 Seattle University students. In addition, since 2020 the University has offered a free two-unit course exploring Seattle and its many contradictions. The University Core course entitled Engaging Seattle: Pursuing a Just and Humane World examines significant issues facing Seattle including the digital divide, environmental justice, racial equity, food insecurity and inequities in education. It is the goal of the CEL Working Group to expand this opportunity to all Seattle University students so they may all have a transformative educational experience.