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Community Action Plan (CAP) 3.0: Carnegie Community Engagement Reclassification

Executive Summary - April 15, 2019

 

BACKGROUND: Starting in Spring 2018, teams of individuals were assigned various questions associated with the Carnegie Community Engagement Reclassification document to work on collecting data and drafting responses. A Canvas portal was created for the project and each team had its own page to converse, upload information, and craft their narratives in a collaborative fashion. This endeavor enlisted numerous faculty and staff members, students, community partners, alumni, and senior leadership of the institution to contribute to the University's responses.

 

At the end of August 2018, the narratives were organized and reviewed by staff members from the Center for Community-Based Learning (CCBL). Initial edits were made and then all responses were sent to an external editor for additional feedback. These edited answers were then reviewed again by CCBL staff members, when necessary, and compiled for the final document submission.

 

At times, additional information needed to be acquired from departments or new content needed to be generated for websites to document processes and practices. These projects were delegated to CCBL staff members to accomplish through either additional meetings/communication with departments or the creation of new webpages/content. In addition, CCBL staff members drafted various responses to the questions, which were also reviewed by the external editor and revised as needed.

 

Ultimately, this process involved hundreds of hours to assemble and incorporate the words and thoughts of over a hundred people. The final product is a reflective document of what the University has accomplished and where it can continue to grow; it is a roadmap for Community Engagement at UNF.

 

FINDINGS: This process required the institution to think critically about community engagement as a tool to achieve its mission and evaluate how successful we have been in that endeavor. It was a reflective exercise that led to interesting conversations, highlighted numerous achievements, and illuminated previous unknowns. Ultimately, there was a lot to celebrate in this comprehensive ten-year review.

 

Key Finding #1: Institutional resources and efforts consistently have been dedicated to developing capacity with UNF employees, with far more emphasis on professional development opportunities for faculty members.

 

Key Finding #2: The quantity of community-based transformational learning (CBTL) opportunities has increased over time, with more faculty members using CBTL as a pedagogy therefore more courses are offered, and more students participate in these opportunities.

 

Key Finding #3: The prevalence of community engagement has been dispersed throughout the institution in unique ways and carried out in both the professional and personal lives of UNF employees.

 

Key Finding #4: An intentional infrastructure was established to support the spread of community-based transformational learning throughout the institution and this framework is flexible enough to grow and adjust as UNF continues to evolve.

 

Key Finding #5: The institution developed several ways to track, evaluate, and assess community engagement, as it attempts to better understand how these experiences contribute to student success and collective community impact.

 

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT & RECOMMENDATIONS:

 

Challenge #1: Increasing opportunities for first-year students to engage with the community through curricular and co-curricular avenues.

 

Solution(s): Integrate community engagement into a comprehensive First Year Experience; work with Housing & Residence Life to integrate community engagement into the Living Learning Community experience, where most residents are first-year students.

 

Closing the Loop: Convene meetings with Undergraduate Studies leadership and the associate vice president of Academic Affairs to discuss alignment of community engagement opportunities with current and projected first-year experience initiatives.

 

Challenge #2: Integration of community engagement into general education courses.

 

Solution(s): Identify courses that currently meet the CBTL standard and qualify to meet the GE requirement; explore which courses might best use CBTL pedagogy and offer course re-design workshops; determine resources (infrastructure, financial, and human) needed to support CBTL integration into large enrollment courses (more common at Gen Ed level).

 

Closing the Loop: Meet with COAS and Undergraduate Studies leadership to discuss natural intersection between the new General Education curriculum and potential CBTL courses; meet with Taylor Leadership Institute (TLI) leadership about the integration of CBTL into the curriculum of the leadership minor.

 

Challenge #3: With an increase in the quantity of curricular offerings, the quality of these experiences needs to be evaluated and enhanced (where necessary).

 

Solution(s): Set a minimum standard for courses to meet the CBTL designation; develop, implement, and/or increase participation in university-wide assessment of CBTL courses to measure student learning, project impact, and community partner impact.

 

Closing the Loop: Convene associate deans from the colleges to discuss development of minimum standards for courses to be designated CBTL; convene stakeholders to evaluate current assessment processes and tools; develop and make readily available assessment process and tools to measure student outcomes, project impact, and community partner perspectives related to CBTL.

 

Challenge #4: Address the disparity in support for staff members to facilitate CBTL experiences.

 

Solution(s): Invest similar resources and focus into developing and implementing co-curricular opportunities for students to engage with the community.

 

Closing the Loop: Strategic conversations with leadership of student affairs and academic affairs to determine mechanisms to incentivize and promote a culture of community engagement; examine differences in resource allocation to move towards a more equitable model.

 

Challenge #5: Creating opportunities for students to reflect on their community engagement experiences in more constructive ways that are directly connected to their discipline and individual learning goals.

 

Solution(s): Identify potential portfolio tools and consider the adaption of the Electronic Learning Transcript (ELT) to be a universal tool across the institution that provides student a platform for reflection throughout the UNF experience; broad introduction of reflection models (i.e., DEAL Model) via training sessions and workshops to incorporate in CBTL assignments as well as within portfolio platforms.

 

Closing the Loop: Review other institutions models for this process (i.e., University of Central Oklahoma's Student Transformative Learning Record); meet with assessment stakeholders (TLI, Director of Assessment, COEHS) to explore the portfolio platforms and methods of reflection (What does reflection at UNF look like?)

 

Challenge #6: Articulate how community engagement is an integrated component of various UNF hallmarks

 

Solution(s): Explicitly demonstrate the synergy between community engagement experiences and hallmarks of a UNF education (i.e., small class sizes).

 

Closing the Loop: Publication of a book documenting the Carnegie process and its products; clearer marketing around how community engagement is a requirement of flagship programs; explore what makes community engagement UNIQUELY UNF?

 

A copy of the Community Action Plan 3.0 Executive Summary can be obtained by contacting the Center for Community-Based Learning.