TCNJ’s Center for Community Engaged Learning and Research partners with community-based organizations to create opportunities for TCNJ students and faculty to enhance the ability organizations to address the causes of community-identified concerns.
Potential Benefits for Partners include:
- A consistent and long-term team of volunteers to enhance your organization’s services
- Access to one-time teams of TCNJ students to work on a specific project or contribute to operations
- Access to teams of TCNJ students to provide research and assessment support
- Access to TCNJ faculty to support and consult on best practices and projects
- Access to a network of TCNJ-affiliated partners and collaborations
- Long-term relationships with institution of higher education
Find more information about:
Partnerships and Priorities
In determining which partnerships to pursue, the CELR Center has developed the following criteria to evaluate proposed partnerships:
- Address significant community-identified needs and opportunities
- Work with marginalized and underrepresented populations
- Provide meaningful opportunities for participating students, staff and faculty
- Are able to incorporate FYCEL, ACEL, and/or research opportunities
- Design programming around evidence-based practices
- Are able to measure community impact and change
- Can support and mentor TCNJ Bonner and non-Bonner students
- Provide issue-based educational trainings for TCNJ students
- Are open to growing and changing programing through a partnership
Partnerships take many forms and encompass a wide range of activities. For more details on the forms of partnerships we currently support, click on each title below:
Bonner team site
A team of generally 3-5 Bonner Scholars contributes approximately 5-10 hours of service per person per week with an organization during the academic year (first week of September through the first week of December; first week of February through first week of May; holidays and fall and spring breaks excluded). Bonners should have regular and consistent service work with progressively increasing responsibility year-to-year and have a designated partner staff member to serve as mentor/liaison on site. First-year CEL and ACEL projects are expected components of a Bonner team and site and are developed in cooperation CELR Center Staff. An honorarium of $3000 paid to the CELR Center which supports student scholarship and CELR Center staffing is customary with the awarding of a Bonner Team.
- Example: El Centro de Recursos Para Familias is a multi-service, family-focused community resource center and community building program serving Mercer County with special emphasis on meeting the needs of the Latino community in Trenton. Bonner Scholars work with El Centro to teach three levels of basic language/pre-ESL classes twice a week to families in an effort for them to achieve self-sufficiency and confidence in their language skills. The Bonner Scholar team also facilitates critical conversations around the immigration issue on campus by hosting panels and Immigration Monologues.
- Contact: For more information on working with a Bonner Team, contact Paula Figueroa-Vega (email@example.com or 609.771.2217)
Community Engaged Learning (CEL) Day
A group of 15-20 TCNJ students will dedicate 6-8 hours of service during a one-time event and/or project. Multiple CEL Days may be proposed.
- Example: First-year students serve at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen with a Bonner team for a full day. They may serve food on the line, prepare hygiene bags, tutor patrons pursuing their GED, or help with a food stamp registration project. The day personalizes food insecurity and breaks down traditional stereotypes of people who go to Soup Kitchens, who are experiencing homelessness, or who are enrolled in food stamps programs.
- Contact: For more information on planning a CEL day, contact Paula Figueroa-Vega (firstname.lastname@example.org or 609.771.2217) or complete this CEL Day interest form.
Advanced Community Engaged Learning (ACEL) course project
A team of upper-level TCNJ students will work with your organization, CELR Center staff, and their course instructor, to develop end-of-semester deliverables that meet the learning objectives of their course and meet a need of your organization. Students each dedicate 10-20 hours of on- and off-site work towards their project over the course of the semester. Students often split into small teams to take on different aspects of a class project, or work individually.
- Example: Students in Dr. Wayne Heisler’s MUS 355/WGS 307 course explored the role of music in identify formation, partnering with the after school program Academic Sports Academy at Hedgepeth-Williams Public School. The class worked with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to better understand the impact popular music has during the formative middle school years. Over the course of three visits, students met and tutored the program participants then teamed up to create interactive workshops, including a dance off, a performance lesson, and a listen-and-learn session with the soundtrack of “Hamilton,” the hip-hop musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton. Students met during their fourth hour to reflect on their previous visit and plan for the next one.
- Contact: For more information on planning an ACEL course project, contact Heather Camp (email@example.com or 609.771.2108) or complete this ACEL Course Project interest form.
The Center recruits and supports students to fulfill their internships with non-profits in the greater Trenton area. Center staff work with community partners to develop academically rigorous and rewarding experiences which address specific organizational outcomes. A semester-long intern typically contributes between 100 and 200 hours over approximately 14 weeks.
- Example: A student interned with UIH Family Partners, a non-profit based in Trenton that empowers and equips men to play a more active and positive role in the lives of their children and families through a comprehensive array of free programs and services. This student conducted research around the economics of discrimination, exploring the links between absentee fathers and childhood success, collaborating with Client Services to instruct small groups of men in parenting and job readiness classes, and organizing a Latino/Spanish-speaking community outreach plan.
- Contact: For more information on Internships, contact Adams Sibley (firstname.lastname@example.org or 609.771.2754) or complete this Internship interest form.
The Center works with our partners to match their research needs and interests to faculty with expertise in their particular areas. If you have a particular research question or project on which you would like support or assistance, we can work with you to find an appropriate faculty member and/or course to meet these needs.
- Example: Dr. He Len Chung, associate professor in TCNJ’s Psychology department, collaborated with Bentrice Jusu, a local artist and business owner, and the CELR Center to develop a youth empowerment program and evaluate the participants’ growth and development over the course of the program. CELR Center worked with Dr. Chung and Ms. Jusu to find grant funding to support the program and the research, and support the logistics and implementation of the program.
- Contact: For more information on research projects, contact Michael Nordquist (email@example.com or 609.771.2731).
Varied and specific projects and/or partnerships can be proposed and are encouraged. They will be considered on a case-by-base basis in relation to the CELR Center’s mission and priorities.
- Contact: To discuss other possibilities, contact Michael Nordquist (firstname.lastname@example.org or 609.771.2731).
Participating students can engage in a range of activities that respond to the needs and interests of community partner organizations. These include, but are not limited to:
- direct service (e.g., clean-ups, building, basic assistance)
- research or information gathering (e.g., issue brief, program review, best practices research)
- curriculum or program development (e.g., lesson plans, learning resource gathering)
- outreach and organizing (e.g., distributing and/or gathering information, creating database)
- training and technical assistance (e.g., development and delivery of trainings, workshops)
- resource development (e.g., identifying funding sources, gathering data for applications)
The services available through each type of partnership is shown in the table below: