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CT State Middlesex has always embraced community-engaged learning, and the Center for Civic Engagement helps us organize and promote these efforts. The Center, located in Snow Hall, room 520 on the Middletown campus, is an exceptional resource for faculty and staff to incorporate the community into their curriculum and projects, for students to research independent projects, and for the community to connect with the campus to address needs.

Our greater community holds countless learning opportunities for every student – and helps build civic bonds. By connecting with local, national, and global organizations and partners, we are able to identify many new and unique learning environments (outside of the classroom) where students can complete projects and fulfill course and program objectives. This form of applied learning expands students’ experiences, builds connections between students and the community, and helps organizations meet real needs.

What is Civic Engagement?

Civic engagement gives students a competitive edge when entering the workforce, and has been cited as a major reason people succeed in school and in life.

Students

Ask your professor how you can include community-engaged learning and civic engagement in your studies.

Faculty

We offer support and resources to faculty and staff, and help train faculty on how to include community-engaged learning and assessment into their curriculum. In addition, the Center provides “tool kits” and references to encourage a greater level of civic engagement.

Developing Students' Civic Responsibility

The Center for Civic Engagement works across all disciplines at CT State Middlesex from marketing to business administration, environmental science to computer technology, human services to healthcare – and everything in between.

Additionally, the Center for Civic Engagement supports (and/or sponsors) all civic-focused activities on campus such as:

  • Voter registration drives
  • The week-long “Connecticut Makes a Difference” volunteer effort
  • Opportunities for campus forums on critical social justice issues
  • Campus speakers and events
  • The monthly “Courageous Conversations” events which are opportunities for the college community to gather and discuss pertinent issues of the day

Mission Statement

The Center for Civic Engagement supports the mission of CT State Community College as a force for positive social change. By expanding opportunities for community-based learning and the exchange of ideas on critical social justice issues, the Center strengthens mutually beneficial relationships between faculty, staff, students and partners in our local, national and global communities. Guided by democratic principles, the Center for Civic Engagement encourages everyone to be active citizens and to work together for the common good.

Contact

ASHLEY RAITHEL

Associate Professor, English
Phone: 860-343-5801
Email:  
Office Location: Snow Hall 520

CT State is a member of the Connecticut Campus Compact

Resources For Faculty

What Is Community-Engaged Learning?

Community-engaged learning (also referred to as service learning) is a way to bring active learning out of the classroom and into the world while also meeting learning outcomes for one’s class and benefitting the community in a unique way. This pedagogy lends itself to many different disciplines. Students work on projects in the community that relate to the course objectives.  The assignments are specifically based on community needs in communication with a community partner.  Students generally have an experience they could not have had in the traditional classroom. At the end of the project, students are asked to reflect on their experience.

In Where’s the Learning in Service-Learning? authors Janet Eyler and Dwight Giles, Jr, describe service-learning as “a form of experiential education where learning occurs through a cycle of action and reflection as students work with others through a process of applying what they are learning to community problems, and at the same time, reflecting upon their experience as they seek to achieve real objectives for the community and deeper understanding for themselves.”

How Does Community-Engaged Learning Help Students?

Various studies have found that community-engaged learning helps students:

  • Obtain skills prized by employers
  • Develop habits of social responsibility and civic participation
  • Persist in college and complete their degree
  • Apply critical thinking and analytic reasoning
  • Become sensitive to issues of cultural diversity

(National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement)

How Can I Add Community-Engaged Learning to My Class?

See the following subject-based ideas and resources for adding community-engaged learning to your class.

Accounting

Ideas: help a nonprofit with accounting and finance skills, help local businesses set up accounting software, host a workshop on personal accounting and budgeting, create a finance plan for a local business or nonprofit
 
Resources:

Anthropology

Ideas: give talks on community history, prepare displays on different cultural histories, participate in CT State Middlesex's International Day
 

Art

Ideas: paint a mural for the school or community, use recycled items to teach about sustainability, design buttons to sell and raise awareness for the arts, partner with children to do art projects, invite local artists for a discussion or workshop

Biology

Ideas: research health issues and present to the community, present information on the biology of aging at senior centers, study nutrition and put together pamphlets to hand out to the community, tutor local students

Business

Ideas: help elderly or low income citizens with tax preparation, assist local high school students with college spending budgets, conduct workshops on how to start a business, assist with marketing strategies, market a product and raise money for local nonprofits

Chemistry

Ideas: teach grade school students chemistry experiments, partner with a local science museum for their needs, analyze water/soil/air samples for the community

Communications

Ideas: help research for a local news organization, produce an awareness campaign on a local issue, invite community members to use the school’s facility and help create media, help local businesses with public relations campaigns, partner with high schools to produce videos on interesting topics for the community

Computer Science

Ideas: repair community members’ computers, host workshops on different computer skills, develop a database for a local business or nonprofits, host technology drives for the community

Criminal Justice

Ideas: partner with local correctional facilities for students to meet with medical parolees, volunteer with organizations that help victims or work to decrease victimization, analyze car crash data in the community and present information, host informational sessions on personal safety/gun safety/home safety

Early Childhood Education

Ideas: partner with local preschools to meet their needs, provide forum for parents to discuss education at home, host meetings with parents to problem-solve education or behavior issues, prepare lesson plans on special topics for local preschools, help parents with preschool to kindergarten transition

Economics

Ideas: perform an economic study or analysis for the local government or a community organization, help local governments collect data, teach younger students about economics

Engineering

Ideas: partner with a local business to help them solve a problem, create an organizational system for a team or company, enhance products to be more accessible to the disability community, research a facility that needs to be improved and present the findings

English

Ideas: interview senior citizens and write their life story, penpal with high school seniors or prison inmates, host a forum on the importance of literacy, research a topic and write to local politicians about the topic, tutor younger students, bring in local authors for workshops, research a local community problem and present the findings in a research paper

Environmental Science

Ideas: educate public on single-use plastic, organize a clean-up day of the park, plant a community garden, host a recycling forum, perform an energy audit of businesses or homes, research a local watershed and present information to the public on how and why to keep it clean

Foreign Language

Ideas: participate in MxCC’s International Day, create children’s picture books for elementary school language classes or ESL students, tutor other students, raise awareness about immigration and other cultures’ customs

Geography

Ideas: conduct community planning studies, assist with a local planning project, present special units on geography at local schools

Health Information Management

Ideas: partner with local hospitals, provide services at senior healthcare systems, collect and present data for health-related nonprofits

History

Ideas: work with senior citizens to write oral histories, partner with a local history museum, host seminars on major historical events, tutor local grade school students, research local histories and present

Human Services

Ideas: work with Middlesex’s Magic Food Bus, partner with social service organizations such as those serving low-income families, youth, homeless women, etc., volunteer with a call agency, host informational sessions on substance abuse, home insecurity, food insecurity, or other related topics

Manufacturing

Ideas: partner with local businesses to meet their needs, partner with a local elementary school to make a project (ie a toy)

Mathematics

Ideas: create statistics data for local businesses, tutor grade school students, host a workshop on good credit/budgeting practices, help students in after-school programs

Media

Ideas: help local nonprofits design and produce commercials and other informational materials, write a script for a commercial, make practice videos to advocate certain causes, teach media literacy to younger students, host a forum on different types of media today

Ophthalmic Design & Dispensing

Ideas: provide services at local shelters, host talks on the importance of good eye and glasses care

Philosophy

Ideas: work with organizations that provide conflict resolution, host discussions on different philosophies and religions, help others see how varying philosophies can coexist together

Physics

Ideas: perform demonstrations for younger students, partner with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity to provide labor and then reflect on the physics involved, problem solve for local businesses or schools with accessibility issues

Resources:

Political Science

Ideas: write to local legislators, host a film night on a current political issue, organize voter registration drives, host non-partisan information sessions on local candidates, help with elections, work with local government agencies to address a community need

Psychology

Ideas: visit local hospitals to meet with patients of varying needs, provide information sessions on different mental health issues, volunteer with a crisis hotline, work with local government agencies in the mental health field

Veterinary Technology

Ideas: host spay/neuter information forum, host a rabies vaccination drive, train animals in shelters, take shelter animals on walks, compile statistics and research on local endangered species, host workshops on adopting dogs or cats