Engaging Communities and Campuses

May 27, 2015

Council of Independent Colleges’ Engaging Communities and Campuses project builds on current and past CIC initiatives on service-learning, college/community partnerships, and college urban missions. The $2.5 million grant funding the project is the largest in CIC’s history.

Project Overview

The Engaging Communities and Campuses program focuses on the ways that private colleges and universities engage with off-campus communities both to enhance student learning and (simultaneously) to assist community organizations and residents in meeting their own agendas. The overall project revolves around the following premise: To prepare students for a lifetime of contribution to society, colleges must enable students to connect with the world beyond the campus—and the interests of those communities—while still enrolled in an educational program. To take advantage of these opportunities, institutions must confront a range of critical issues:

  • enabling students to appreciate various forms of learning in the world such as service-learning, internships, and action research
  • establishing staff positions that identify community opportunities and build relationships (e.g., service-learning or internship coordinators)
  • helping faculty gain skills in experiential learning (e.g., facilitating reflection)
  • determining the place of experiential learning opportunities in curricular schedules and sequences using communities as sources of knowledge
  • developing approaches to faculty development, workload, and reward systems that acknowledge this work
  • establishing long-term partnerships with businesses, governments, schools, and community organizations.

This multi-year initiative will consist of several complementary strategies that enable institutions to address these issues within their institution and in collaboration with other institutions.


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