Beyond their First Year Community Engaged Learning experience, students are encouraged to find additional learning opportunities that also have a positive impact on the community. Advanced Community Engaged Learning (Advanced CEL) aims to have students develop the means to apply the knowledge they gain from academic experiences within the context of everyday community life, as well as understand how to be active and engaged citizens in a complex and diverse society.
Advanced CEL refers to all upper-level classes that allow students to apply their additional knowledge and enhanced skills to address a community need, as well as develop their own civic skills through an experiential learning opportunity. Projects are guided by the learning objectives of the course as well as the needs of the community. Staff from the Center for Community Engaged Learning & Research (CELR Center) work with faculty to identify potential partners and to develop student projects.
These projects can include direct service, such as tutoring in a local prison, mentoring youth in Trenton, or refurbishing a neglected park. Others may follow a problem-based approach in which students develop proposals to address the needs of local nonprofit partners, such as creating a social media campaign plan. Some courses may require community-based research, in which students complete a research project in response to the community’s interest, such as an issue brief on teen pregnancy in the city of Trenton. Through these experiences, students are given the opportunity to apply the content and theories they learn in the classroom to the real world in tangible ways.
Advanced CEL classes call for students to complete at least 17 hours of community engaged learning work during a given semester. The ideal class-based project or experience is one that substantially builds the capacity of the community partner organization, and thereby offers the student a more advanced applied learning opportunity.
The Center for Community Engaged Learning & Research is working with each school at TCNJ to develop at least one Advanced CEL course in every department. The School of Nursing and School of Education require their students to participate in community-based learning experiences as part of their respective programs. The CELR Center has begun working with the School of Humanities & Social Sciences, the School of Business, and the School of Arts & Communication to incorporated Advanced CEL in each of its programs. The Center plans to work closely with the deans of the School of Engineering and School of Science to bring Advanced CEL to their respective departments.
To learn more about the Advanced CEL course development and approval process, visit the Advanced CEL Course Development and Approval page.