Community Engaged Learning
Community engagement is a way of life at Stetson University. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recently awarded Stetson University its Community Engagement Classification in both possible categories: curricular engagement, and outreach and partnerships.
Community engagement occurs in a variety of ways at Stetson University. Faculty, staff and students routinely volunteer their time in the community doing such things as:
- Tutoring elementary school children who are behind in their reading skills
- Working with Habitat for Humanity to provide low-cost housing
- Working with state and county officials to monitor and control invasive species in local springs
- Caring for animals at the final stages of their lives through Journey's End
There are several service organizations at Stetson University that regularly do volunteer work in the community such as PAWS, CAUSE, Into the Streets and Greek social organizations.
Many members of the faculty require community engagement work as part of their course requirements; this requirements is known as service learning, a pedagogical tool with which the student is able to connect theoretical learning with practical community needs in an attempt to solve those needs providing a service for the community. For example:
- Students in a class on the Economics of Poverty might help low-income families properly fill out their tax returns to maximize their tax refunds, thus putting a personal face on poverty.
- Students in an advanced Spanish language class might work with local Mexican-American migrant workers to help them speak English better while at the same time sharpening their Spanish language skills.
- Students in a community-based research course might develop community profiles that help community leaders create after-school programs for children and young adults to provide productive activities for them, thus applying theoretical knowledge gained from surveys to a practical community problem.
There are many ways to get involved in the local community through Stetson University, whether through volunteerism or though coursework, individually or in groups. If you would like more information on community engagement opportunities, please contact us at 386-822-8713 or [email protected]
Service learning is a pedagogical tool used by faculty to help students apply theoretical knowledge to a real-world problem with the goal of building a better understanding of the theory while simultaneously solving the engaged problem.
The Stetson University Community-Based Research program facilitates collaboration between faculty, student and members of the community to plan and conduct research. This program has a strong focus on using student research skills to address social problems found in the local community. Students learn to apply the theories and methods they have mastered in the classroom to real problems in the community beyond Stetson University, while community partners gain access to the rich research resources offered by the university. The result is a powerful learning experience for students and faculty, as well as a valuable research product for community partners.