Associate Dean Message

Now More Than Ever: Why Community-engaged Learning Matters

In 2007, Weber State University (WSU)created The Center for Community-Engaged Learning (CCEL) to “engage students, faculty and staff members in service, democratic engagement, and community research to promote civic participation, build community capacity, and enhance the educational process.” Students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners come to the CCEL to create connections and opportunities to offer service, to grow through learning and experience, and to build a community that thrives. Since its inception--almost 10 years ago--students have contributed over a million (1,052,448) combined hours of community engagement through the Center. WSU goes a step beyond and puts coursework into action through community-engaged learning (CEL). Research on CEL demonstrates the value of this high-impact practice for student learning, retention, and persistence to graduation.

The association between WSU’s Center for Community-Engaged Learning and the surrounding Northern Utah community provides students with opportunities to write documents that meet community partner specifications and to generate materials for their professional portfolios. A recent English graduate, Brandan Quinney, partnered with North Ogden City, where he worked with the Human Resource Director and City Recorder on the city’s monthly business spotlight, which focuses on local businesses that are deeply rooted in community involvement. Watch his story here.

Recently the Telitha E. Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities was asked to participate in a national research project about engaged learning (College Engagement Rubric Pilot Project) and have formed a “Rubric Working Group” that consists of leaders in and/or advocates for community-engaged learning in their various departments: Communication, English, Foreign Languages, Performing Arts, and Visual Art & Design. Later this semester we will present the preliminary results of our self-assessment of structures, policies, and practices with the goal of advancing community engagement within our college.

By creating opportunities for students to address issues of public concern we expand their educational experiences, help them build satisfying careers, and develop better connections with the broader community. To see how community-engaged learning impacts students and community follow our college Facebook,  Twitter and YouTube channels. Where have you seen Weber State in the greater-Ogden community? Tell us your stories as well.

Dr. Becky Jo Gesteland

Associate Dean

Telitha E. Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities