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Center name change demonstrates commitment to community engagement

May 24, 2019 Tags: Community Engagement and Outreach , University News

CEE horizontal logo white 2019

The Center for Service & Learning (CS&L) at Saint Francis University will be renamed the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), effective immediately. The name change demonstrates the University’s continued and intentional commitment to community engagement, both at the curricular and co-curricular levels.

According to the Carnegie Foundation, community engagement (CE) is described as the “collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in the context of partnership and reciprocity.”

CCE group image meeting community needThe CS&L was established in fall 2015 to help support the University’s strategic plan - Francis 2020, aiming to support and enhance student engagement in community service. “Community service is very much valued at Saint Francis University,” said CCE Director Lisa Georgiana. “CE is a much more broader umbrella.  CE implies doing with a community partner for mutual benefit, whereas community service can be thought of doing for a community partner.”

Georgiana added that CE is also recognized as one of the eight innovative strategies that universities embrace to respond creatively to today’s challenging higher education environment (Innovation and the Independent College, a report by the Council of Independent College, March 2018).

Building on the University’s Franciscan approach to teaching, service and scholarship, Faculty Senate approved the new community-engaged (CE) course designation in December 2017. In a CE course, students apply what they are learning in class to meet a community need, guided by their professor and collaborating with a community partner. The result is an in-depth exploration of an existing social, civil, or ethical problem through the lens of an academic discipline. 

In 2018-19, a total of 23 courses were CE designated. In fall 2019, 18 courses are CE designated and encompass disciplines in each of the three schools: the Shields School of Business, the School of Health Sciences & Education, and the School of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics. CE course designation builds on a long-standing tradition of service-learning courses at the University.

In 2018-19, full-time undergraduate students recorded 22,328 community service hours (both CE course hours and co-curricular hours) valued at $551,278. (Value of one service hour is $24.69, according to the Independent Sector).

Georgiana expressed gratitude to the University’s administration and the Faculty Advisory Committee on Community Engagement for their support of CE pedagogy. 

The mission of the CCE is: “Inspired by our Catholic, Franciscan tradition, the Center for Community Engagement is a catalyst for impactful community engagement experiences. We collaborate with students, faculty, staff and community partners to facilitate the sharing of the knowledge and resources of the University for the common good.”

Community organizations interested in learning more about the CE courses and collaborative opportunities with the University, may contact Georgiana at lgeorgiana@francis.edu or (814) 472-3329.

Learn more about the Center for Community Engagement >