Important Terms:

Community Engagement: Is an umbrella term that encompasses the variety of ways the campus collaborates with the community. In a broad sense, it means the coming together of communities (in this case, the university and community) to strengthen and improve the quality of life in communities. At the university level, these partnerships are active components of student curricular and co-curricular learning, and faculty teaching and scholarship. The partnerships are supported and realized through a variety of campus entities, both academic and administrative.

According to the Carnegie Foundation, “Community engagement describes collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.

The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.”

Service Learning: Service learning is a teaching method that promotes student learning through active participation in meaningful and planned service experiences in the community that contribute to the public good and are directly related to course content. Through reflective activities, students enhance their understanding of course content and sense of social responsibility.

Internships: From Executive Order 1064, “It is an off-campus activity designed to serve educational purposes by offering experience in a service learning, business, non-profit, or government setting. For the purpose of this executive order ‘internship’ does not include teacher preparation placements or clinical placements such as for nursing, counseling, physical therapy or occupational therapy.” 

Even though there is some overlap between ‘service learning courses’ and ‘internships,’ the essential differences between an internship and service learning are as follows: internships generally require more hours and/or expertise; students may seek out internships independent of courses for pre-professional experience or pay; students may or may not be asked in any formal way to connect experience with discipline learning or social responsibility.

Fieldwork courses (also called Field Instruction or Field Practicum) place students in supervised community-based learning experiences. Fieldwork courses are traditionally strongly connected to discipline learning, required in sequential courses for a major, require discipline-specific expertise and a large number of hours.

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