Certificate of Achievement in Community-Engaged Learning
To receive the academic certificate in community-engaged learning, students must complete the following requirements (minimum of 16 credits):
- Community-engaged coursework
- Three community-engaged learning seminars
- Community-engaged capstone project
Students must complete 12 credit hours of community-engaged coursework. Four credits of which must be at least level 3. The other eight credits can be any combination of levels:
- Level one: Exposure to issues of inequality or unmet needs in the community
- Level two: Material taught in collaboration with non-academic community partner
- Level three: Coursework contributes to mission and needs of non-academic partner organization
Courses can overlap with students’ majors, minors, or clusters. There are over 100 community-engaged courses offered (varying by semester) across many departments, including art and art history, environmental science, public health, history, political science, dance, and more. See the courses page for more information.
Students are required to take a total of four credit hours that examine the theory and practice of community-engaged learning.
The seminars will explore local and global University-community relationships, and will foster learning in the context of these diverse partnerships. These seminars should be taken in sequence. Both seminars examine topics through readings, case studies, reflective writing, guest speakers, and site visits.
Students should take all of the following courses:
- CAS 202: Introduction to Community-Engaged Learning (two credits)*
- CAS 206a: Community-Engaged Learning (one credit)
- CAS 206b: Advanced Community-Engaged Learning (one credit)
*Instructor permission is required for this course
The community-engaged capstone project is an extended project conceived of and executed by the student under the joint supervision of a Rochester faculty member and a leader of a non-academic partner organization. The project should address the needs of under-served communities beyond campus, whether that be in Rochester, anywhere in the US, or internationally.
Students who wish to conduct a project must propose the project’s activities and objectives for approval by the program steering committee before the beginning of the fall semester of senior year. To be approved, a project must:
- Include at least 100 hours of contact time by the student (i.e., time working with leadership from the partner organization and/or in direct contact with the populations the partner organization serves)
- Culminate in the delivery of a tangible work product by the student that meets the needs of the partner organization and/or the population it serves, and draw on methods and knowledge of the academic discipline represented by the project’s faculty supervisor
The capstone project can overlap with other programs, including independent research projects, departmental honors programs, the Urban Fellows program, the Hajim School’s senior design courses, and the Undergraduate Program in Public Health’s community engagement internship.
Some examples of past projects include:
- Designing a plant-based meal program at a local domestic violence shelter
- Helping a gardening non-profit re-brand by creating new logos and other graphic designs
- Standardizing and updating the handbook at Child Protective Services
- Creating a pilot active play program for the Department of Recreation and Youth Services
- Conducting Ethnographic research and producing volunteer training videos for the Rochester Interfaith Hospitality Network
- Updating a landlord-tenant interface manual and tenant screening guide