A. Mission and Purpose

  • The institution's mission statement explicitly articulates its commitment to the public purposes of higher education and is deliberate about educating students for lifelong participation in their communities.
  • This aspect of the mission is openly valued and is explicitly used to promote and explain the civic engagement and community-building activities on and off campus.
  • The institution demonstrates a genuine willingness to review, discuss, and strengthen its commitment to civic engagement and community building.
  • All members of the campus community demonstrate their familiarity with and ownership of the institution's mission.

B. Academic and Administrative Leadership

  • The president, the chief academic officer, and the trustees visibly support the campus's civic engagement and community-building efforts, in both their words and their actions.
  • The president and the institution's academic leaders have played a visible and committed role in helping the institution sustain and expand its community-building efforts and evolve into a genuinely engaged institution.
  • The campus is publicly regarded as an important and reliable partner in local community development efforts.
  • High-level administrators include community-based and service-learning in their strategic plans for enhanced academic learning.

C. Disciplines, Departments, and Interdisciplinary work

  • Community-based learning opportunities can be found across the entire curriculum. It is as much the concern of the arts and humanities, the natural sciences, technical disciplines, pre-professional studies, and interdisciplinary programs as it is of the social sciences.
  • Students have multiple opportunities to do community-based work in their disciplinary and general education curricula.
  • Formal opportunities exist for capstone experiences (including group reflection meetings, forums, and variable credit courses) focused on community-based problems or issues in most disciplines.
  • Academic units (i.e., departments and programs) rather than individual faculty members have assumed ownership of partnering activities.
  • Course-based community initiatives are structured and/or coordinated across disciplines.

D. Teaching and Learning

  • The institution recognizes that course content can be delivered in many ways and allows faculty sufficient freedom to utilize community-based strategies.
  • Multiple cultural and historical perspectives on the meanings of community-based work are integrated throughout the students' curricular and co-curricular experiences.
  • Community-based work provides an opportunity for students to generate knowledge, develop critical thinking skills, and grapple with the ambiguity of social problems.
  • Community knowledge and community expertise are valued as essential to the education of students for meaningful participation in their communities and are incorporated in various ways throughout the curriculum.
  • Experiential learning is valued both by faculty and administrators as an academically credible method of creating meaning and understanding.
  • Students are formally introduced to the concepts and skills necessary for civic engagement and community-based work early on in their academic careers.

E. Faculty Development

  • The institution regularly provides faculty with campus-based opportunities to become familiar with teaching methods and practices related to service-learning and community-based education.
  • Mechanisms have been developed to help faculty mentor and support each other in learning to design and implement service-learning and other community-based courses.
  • To enhance their ability to offer quality community-based or service-learning courses, faculty have access to curriculum development grants, reductions in teaching loads, and/or travel grants to attend relevant regional and national conferences.

F. Faculty Roles and Rewards

  • The institution's tenure, promotion, and/or retention guidelines reward a range of scholarly activities such as those proposed by Ernest Boyer (1990), including community-based teaching and scholarship.
  • Faculty data forms, annual reports, and mandatory evaluations all include sections related to civic engagement, community-based teaching and research, professional service, and/or other forms of academically based public work.
  • The institution explicitly encourages academic departments to include community-based interests and experience as criteria in their faculty recruiting efforts.

G. Support Structures and Resources

  • Faculty and students are kept well informed of the resources available to support community-based work. These resources are effectively included in all faculty and student orientation programs.
  • The institution has developed a full range of forms and procedures that allow it to organize and document community-based work.
  • The institution recognizes the unpredictable nature of work in the community and attempts to provide flexible scheduling options for faculty and students.
  • The institution maintains a centralized office or center that is clearly aligned with academic affairs and is committed to community-based teaching and learning.

H. Internal Budget & Resource Allocations

  • Adequate funding is provided to support, enhance, and deepen involvement by faculty, students, and staff in community-based work.
  • The institution regularly draws upon already existing resources to strengthen community-based and civic engagement activities. Such activities are seen as priorities in the allocation of those resources.
  • The institution provides sufficient long-term staffing to support all core partnerships and community-based and civic activities. It also provides adequate office space for that staff to do their work.

I. Community Voice

  • Local knowledge and expertise are honored through on-campus celebrations of and for the community. The keepers of local history and knowledge are invited to share their expertise with campus students, faculty, and staff.
  • The community is deeply and regularly involved in determining its role in, and contribution, to community-based learning.
  • The community plays a significant role in helping shape institutional involvement in the community.
  • The community is well represented on all relevant institutional committees.
  • The community provides feedback on the development and maintenance of engagement programs and community-based work and is involved in all relevant strategic planning. ’¢ The institution allocates resources to compensate community partners for their participation in service-learning courses and other forms of teaching and research.

J. External Resource Allocation

  • The institution helps the community create a richer learning environment for students working with it and assists it in accessing human, technical, and intellectual resources on campus.
  • The institution makes resources available for community-building efforts in local neighborhoods.
  • Campus mechanisms have been designed and developed to serve both the campus and the local community (e.g. shared-use buildings).
  • The institution has developed purchasing and hiring policies that intentionally favor local residents and businesses.

K. Coordination of Community-Based Activities

  • The institution effectively coordinates community-based activities across academic, co-curricular, and non-academic programs.
  • The institution helps community partners understand, access, and navigate all of its community-based activities (practica, service-learning and other community-based courses, volunteers, etc.).

L. Forums for Fostering Public Dialogue

  • The institution plays a visible and effective role in facilitating dialogue around important public issues.
  • The institution helps to bring together stakeholders from all sectors of the community.

M. Student Voice

  • Students participate on major institutional committees, including those that make personnel decisions.
  • The institution provides a venue for students to discuss and act upon issues important to them and their communities.
  • The institution recruits and trains student leaders to work with faculty and community partners.
  • Students are formally introduced to the concepts and skills necessary for community-based work early in their academic careers.
  • The institution recognizes student-initiated advocacy campaigns as legitimate forms of civic engagement.

This project is funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service, Learn and Serve America — Higher Education.