Introduction to Community Engaged Learning
In June 2018, twenty faculty and staff from a range of departments and programs around the UC Davis campus participated in a Community Engaged Learning (CEL) workshop organized by students taking a graduate-level community development course. The course was intended to help develop practical skills for students moving into professional roles as community developers. The course was structured in a way to promote the same principles it was intended to teach, and itself was an example of a CEL experience. The workshop was organized into three sections:
Sharing findings from previously-conducted surveys and interviews
Participants were prompted through interactive activities for each of these components. In the first section of the workshop, student facilitators shared the three themes that had emerged from the interviews: building bridges and networking, encountering disconnections, stories of transformation. Facilitators then asked participants to write stories on these themes. Out of these three topics, transformation was the most widely selected and shared by participants.
Imagining the future of CEL at UC Davis
Participants designed a magazine cover of CEL ten years in the future. Magazine covers touched upon the themes of collaboration, removing the binary between community and the university, and social transformation.
Brainstorming next steps
Finally, participants plotted steps toward an engaged university along a timeline. They also completed a worksheet of the CEL Ecosystem. Themes that arose from the first activity were acknowledgement of the university’s history, mission, and the current level of community engaged work being performed by staff and program leaders. Themes from the ecosystem worksheet include the large amount of time spent by faculty, staff, and community partners to do CEL with students and the rewards of developing meaningful relationships.