What is Community-Engaged Learning?
Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) is a community-based and experiential educational opportunity aimed to enhance learning, through community engagement. In the CEL experience, students learn more about social issues, work alongside community partners, combine their off-campus learning with guided reflection under the mentorship of a faculty sponsor, and participate in critical reflection workshops with the OCEL. Students are eligible to receive either 0.5 unit (40 hours of community-based work and 30 hours of academic work) or 1.0 unit of academic credit (80 hours of community-based work and 60 hours of academic work) in the department of their faculty sponsor.
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All CEL is “ungraded” (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory). Students earn credit in the department of the faculty sponsor. To earn 0.5 units, students work with a community partner for 40 hours over the semester and complete 30 hours of academic work with their faculty sponsor. Academic work typically entails keeping a journal, assigned readings and a final integrative report. Student’s grade (satisfactory/unsatisfactory) takes into account an evaluation provided by the agency supervisor in addition to evaluation by the faculty sponsor.
The OCEL upholds the college’s commitment to providing an accessible and inclusive learning environment. Please contact the office if you need any accommodations.
Mission of the OCEL
The Office of Community-Engaged Learning (OCEL) builds asset-based relationships with community partners to provide students with experiential and community-based educational opportunities. OCEL connects students, community partners, and faculty to deepen classroom learning, build capacity at community organizations, and empower students to become active change agents in their communities.
We acknowledge that Vassar stands upon the homelands of the Munsee Lenape, Indigenous peoples who have an enduring connection to this place despite being forcibly displaced by European colonization.
Munsee Lenape peoples continue today as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community in Wisconsin, the Delaware Tribe and the Delaware Nation in Oklahoma, and the Munsee Delaware Nation in Ontario. This acknowledgment, however, is insufficient without our reckoning with the reality that every member of the Vassar community since 1861 has benefited from these Native peoples’ displacement, and it is hollow without our efforts to counter the effects of structures that have long enabled—and that still perpetuate—injustice against Indigenous Americans. To that end, we commit to build and sustain relationships with Native communities; to expand opportunities at Vassar for Native students, as well as Native faculty and other employees; and to collaborate with Native nations to know better the Indigenous peoples, past and present, who care for this land.
Are you interested in learning more about voting as a member of the Vassar community? Vassar Votes is an initiative by the Office of Community-Engaged Learning to ensure everyone has the resources to participate in the democratic process. Learn more here.
Stay Connected with the OCEL:
Subscribe to The OCEL Newsletter here.