Community Engagement Course Attributes

As part of the Chancellor’s Office 2018-19 California’s Call to Service Initiative, the CO identified an accountability goal to strengthen systemwide data collection infrastructure around community-engaged courses (as defined by the Chancellor's Office Center for Community Engagement). All campuses must implement two systemwide course attributes in the course management system to effectively identify and track these types of courses. And distinguish service learning, as a distinct pedagogy, from community-engaged learning, which can include a variety of community-based learning experiences. A working group consisting of representatives from the Chancellor’s Office, CSU campuses, and the CSU Academic Senate developed the tools and resources needed for this initiative. 

The Attributes:

CCEL - Curricular Community Engaged Learning

CSLI - Service Learning

 

The Chancellor's Office identified the 2020-2021 academic year as the first year (pilot year) for this effort. Campuses elected to begin in either fall or spring semester, with an expectation that the first round of courses would be updated within the course management system by the end of the academic year. Allowing for specific cycles for when certain courses may be offered, this will be a  multi-year effort until all courses have been identified with the appropriate attribute.

These types of courses are identified by the student learning experience and community impact, not by course title or label. The Chancellor's Office Center for Community Engagement (COCCE) and the working group for this effort gathered definitions and processes for identifying these courses from all CSU campuses, developing broad enough definitions that would leave room for campus-specific approaches as well. The COCCE has disseminated definitions for these learning experiences and a framework to assist campuses with applying the appropriate attribute.

The course framework, identifies the essential elements of these types of learning experiences. A course must include all six essential elements to be identified as 'service learning' and the first three of the six to be identified as 'community-engaged learning.' For more information, please see the framework or the tab on this page: Essential Elements of Community Engaged and Service Learning.

Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) - A variety of community-based activities* that enhance course learning, benefit the common good**, and take place in collaboration with community partners. Courses vary in scope of community engagement, integration within the course, and collaboration with the community partner.

Service Learning (CSLI) - Substantive community-based learning and the community partnerships are a highly integrated and critical component of the curriculum and student learning experience. The benefit to the community partner is clearly identified, with equal focus on community impact, collaboration, and student learning specifically related to civic learning, equity, social justice or responsibility.

*Community-Based Activities - Assignments at/with/for an external organization and connected to course learning or major/department learning outcomes

**Common Good - The material, cultural or institutional interests that members of society have in
common, 
e.g. arts, civic engagement, community health/well being, economic development, education, equity, sustainability.

The course framework developed by the Chancellor's Office outlines a spectrum of curriculum implementation for community engagement. The framework is not meant to establish a hierarchy of experience wherein service learning is considered the 'high end' of the spectrum and community-engaged learning the 'low end.' Instead, it is meant to help the CSU establish a shared language and method for identifying and understanding student learning and community impact. 

A course must include all six essential elements (EE) to be identified as 'service learning' and the first three of the six to be identified as 'community-engaged learning.' Below is a list of each essential elements with its baseline definition. It's best to view the entire framework to see how the systemwide defintions for these courses are being established through a spectrum of  course implementation.

EE1: Reciprocal Partnerships - Reciprocal partnerships and processes shape the community activities and course design to enhance student understanding of the importance of community learning.

EE2: Student Community Involvement Benefits the Common Good - Student community involvement has a specific benefit to the material, cultural or institutional interests that members of society have in common. This specific benefit to the common good is intentional, planned for, communicated and assessed with community partners in mind. This may include the organizational capacity, client growth, social and economic benefits, etc.

EE3: Academically Relevant Community Involvement - Student community involvement is relevant to and integrated with the discipline-based academic content and assignments.

[A course that contains  EE1 - EE3 recrives the CCEL Attribute - Curricular Community Engaged Learning. A course must also include the next EE4 - EE6 to receive the CSLI Attribute - Service Learning.]

EE4: Explicit Civic Learning Goals - Civic learning goals are articulated and develop students’ capacities to understand and address critical social issues. [Civic learning is a broad term that may be considered learning related to social responsibility, social justice, equity, global citizenship, sustainability.]

EE5: Reflection Facilitates Learning - Critical reflection activities and assignments integrate classroom and community learning.

EE6: Integrated Assessment of Student Learning - Student learning assessment addresses both the discipline-based and civic learning goals, and includes learning from community involvement.

Based on Chancellor's Office guidelines, campuses are required to use two course attributes to identify community engaged and service learning courses CCEL (Community Engaged Learning) and CSLI (Service Learning). 

These course attributes are identified through the Chancellor's Office framework: Classifying a Student-Centered Approach to Community-Engaged Learning Courses. [For more on the framework, click on the Essential Elements tab on this page.] The Chancellor's Office created a survey based on the course framework. Faculty responses to the survey determine if a course receives the CCEL or CSLI attribute. Cal State East Bay is undergoing an inventory of a wide variety of courses that include some type of community engagement to apply these attributes. The inventory is managed by the Center for Community Engagement and the survey is housed in the CalStateS4 web platform. The first inventory semester for us is Spring 2021. The inventory will continue until all courses that are currently identified with community engagement have been surveyed.

See a sample of the survey here.

The framework identifies courses based on the student learning experience and community impact - not course title or label. For example, if within an "internship" course student community-based activities contribute to the common good - then this internship course may be a CCEL or CSLI course.

Cal State East Bay uses three attributes to identify courses with off campus learning experiences:

Community-Engaged Learning (CCEL - attribute): A variety of courses in which community-based activities contribute to the common good (e.g. through education, equity, community well being, sustainability, economic development) and take place with community partner organizations. Courses vary in scope of community engagement, integration within the course, and collaboration with community partners.

Service Learning (CSLI - attribute) - A specific type of Community-Engaged Learning in which substantive community-based learning and the community partnerships are a highly integrated and critical component of the curriculum and student learning experience. The benefit to the community partner is clearly identified, with equal focus on community impact, collaboration, and student learning specifically related to civic learning, social justice or responsibility, and integrated with discipline learning.

Internship (NTRN- attribute) - Currently in use to identify credit-bearing, formal work opportunities which integrate an academic program with career aspirations. Based on the course inventory some courses identified as "internships" with the NTRN attribute will change to either CCEL or CSLI, adhering to CO guidelines to apply the attributes based on the framework.

The CO's inventory of courses will continue until all courses with community engagement have undergone the process and been assigned one of the relevant attributes. The process will be integrated into campus systems for new and revised courses. Academic departments and colleges are asked to continue participation in the course inventory, as well as follow appropriate steps within Curriculog for new and revised courses. [Please see the Department Guide for more information.]

Summer 2021 the CO will be reviewing samples of campus data to evaluate the validity of the tool used to determine course attributes, and make adjustments as needed. The CO has requested that campuses discuss spring 2021 pilot results, and address questions or issues regarding the data or the campus process. These department and college discussions are meant to move campuses toward an aligned understanding of community engaged and service learning experiences within the systemwide framework and campus practices.

Starting fall 2021, The Center for Community Engagement will host conversations with departments and faculty to:

  • meet the Chancellor's Office objective of aligned understanding;
  • discuss what survey results tell us about student learning, faculty efforts, and community collaborations;
  • capitalize upon the wealth of knowledge in departments where community engagement is highly institutionalized.

Ultimately, this effort will lead Cal State East Bay to better:

  • understand student learning;
  • support student success;
  • recognize faculty efforts;
  • understand community impact.

The Center for Community Engagement collects data on both Community Engaged (CCEL) and Service Learning (CSLI) courses.The CCE strongly recommends departments use CalStateS4, which handles student placements, community partnerships, and data reporting. All currently identified CCEL/CSLI courses are loaded into S4 and any course can be uploaded. For courses not using CalStateS4, course data should be reported to the CCE upon request at the end of the semester, including:

  • course information
  • # of hours served: total & /student
  • placement sites & confirmation of site agreements
  • community impact: hours/focus area
  • student activities: hours/category

Community Engagement Course Inventory Survey Instructions

Please note: the survey for Spring 2021 is now closed. The deadline was Feb. 15th, 2021.

STEP 1: Review the Course Framework

STEP 2: Log into CalStateS4 with NET ID - https://app.calstates4.com/csueastbay

STEP 3: You will land on the faculty dashboard which contains the survey link. Click on the survey “CSU Community-Engaged Learning Tool Survey.”

 survey landing page

STEP 4: After submission, look for the confirmation email with your responses. This email will also confirm if your course has been assigned an attribute or more information is needed. If more information is needed, the Center for Community Engagement will follow up with you. 

SAMPLE CONFIRMATION EMAIL

 

Helpful Resources:

Video Walk-Through of Survey for Faculty

Chancellor's Office FAQ about the Initiative

Email: cce@csueastbay.edu with any questions.

Please click here for the Center for Community Engagement's report on the spring 2021 community engagement course inventory.