At Manhattan College, we understand Community-Engaged Learning (CEL, also known as service-learning) as a pedagogical approach through which faculty develop reciprocal community partnerships with the goal of engaging their students in relevant and meaningful service, advocacy, or research connected to course content, organized around clear learning goals, and addressing real community needs as defined by the community.
Faculty, students and community partners join in a mutually-beneficial relationship that responds to expressed needs of the local community and provides an intellectually engaging experience for learners on both sides of the partnership through continuous reflection.
By expanding the use of this pedagogy we hope to promote a culture of service and civic engagement, enhance academic learning and student development, as well as encourage a commitment to social, economic and racial justice through the building of mutually-beneficial campus-community partnerships.
Community-Engaged Learning is a process which involves:
Developing Community Partnerships between Manhattan College and a community-based organizations, schools or agencies, that are sustainable, reciprocal, and mutually-beneficial.
Connecting course learning objectives with opportunities to meet the community-defined needs of people in underserved communities or work with agencies which advocate for the poor and/or care for the environment.
Integrating theoretical knowledge and experiential learning in the community in the syllabus through community engagement which provides a context for critical thinking and action that promotes the common good.
Orienting students to their service site placement, and educating students about the surrounding community and ethical community engagement practices.
Community engagement (either direct/indirect) during which students volunteer at community partner organizations that address issues including: access to education, immigration, the environment, affordable housing, access to healthcare and eldercare, poverty, and homelessness.
Meeting actual community-defined needs, and providing structured time for students to critically think, talk, and write about what they are doing in their community service and/or research experiences.
Reflection in a deep and meaningful way which aims to increase students understanding of their role in the community and in society at large, and the promotion of positive, sustainable social and economic change through community building.
Fostering civic responsibility, critical thinking and ethical awareness in students.
Learning with our community partners about the root causes of the issues being experienced in the community and which affects the constituency of that partner.
CEL is a concrete expression of the Lasallian values central to Manhattan College's mission, to "provide a contemporary, person-centered educational experience that prepares graduates for lives of personal development, professional success, civic engagement, and service to their fellow human beings”. CEL embraces an ethics of social change leadership, as well a commitment to values inherent in Catholic Social Teaching, and continues to build partnerships with community-based organizations, agencies, schools, and social change organizations, who serve the poor, marginalized, and underserved in our community, care for the environment, and advocate for social change.