Community Engaged Scholars Program
What is an engaged citizen? How can we use our talents to benefit our communities? What is the meaning of service? How can we build a more equitable future? How can we promote social justice in our day-to-day lives?
The Community Engaged Scholars (CES) program connects our students’ longstanding commitment to community service directly to their studies. It will provide students with the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to serve as ethical, respectful, and responsible agents of service and of social change in their local, national, and global communities.
Open to students in any major, the CES program builds connections between the curriculum and co-curriculum, creates a cohort of undergraduates committed to community service and civic engagement, and enables them to benefit from community-connected teaching, learning, and research. Students who complete the program will receive a notation on their transcript as recognition of their accomplishments.
If there's one overarching tenet of the Brandeisian philosophy, it's that we should use our gifts to better the world around us. That's why Brandeis students, faculty and staff devote thousands of hours to volunteer programs in our local communities each year, many finding opportunities with our Department of Community Service. The Waltham Group, our network of student-run volunteer programs has 75 student leaders managing 40 community partnerships with 1,250 volunteers. This community service infrastructure will be available to you as you look for engagement opportunities.
While benefiting from volunteering with our established community service organizations, you will have the opportunity to learn the academics behind civic engagement and community service from field-leading faculty across multiple disciplines. You will learn about theories of change, foundational practices of community engagement, different modes of service, policy analysis and advance advocacy.
Students in the Community Engaged Scholars Program will be supported in making connections between their studies, in any major or minor, and their community and civic engagement activities. Consequently, students who participate in the program will:
- Identify connections between their academic interests and important real-world challenges and opportunities;
- Learn about Waltham, and other places/locations of their choice;
- Articulate theories of change and foundational practices of community engagement and locate their own community service and/or civic engagement experiences vis-à-vis these theories and practices;
- Reflect on different modes of service, engagement and/or leadership and develop insight into their own service, engagement and/or leadership styles (including from the perspective of their respective disciplines).
Students completing the Community Engaged Scholars Program will develop skills that are central to community service and civic engagement, as well as policy analysis and advocacy, including the ability to:
- Locate urgent social challenges in relevant historical, social, and political contexts, including previous and ongoing collective efforts to create a more just and equitable society;
- Support community-based organizations with core functions, such as community asset mapping (and needs assessment); grant writing; budget development and management; program documentation, assessment, and evaluation; risk management; volunteer empowerment;
- Conduct policy analysis and advance advocacy, through techniques including active listening, community organizing, communications and public speaking, campaign development, movement building, community engaged/action research and lobbying;
- Articulate how their disciplinary perspectives (e.g., from the Arts, Humanities, Sciences, and/or Social Sciences) -- and their intersections -- align with specific practices of community service and/or civic engagement.
The Community Engaged Scholars curriculum provides tools for those committed to the Brandeis ideal of putting knowledge and practice in service of social justice. Students in the Community Engaged Scholars Program will come away with a strong understanding of how to:
- Engage with communities and community-based organizations respectfully and ethically, honoring their expertise and leadership;
- Build long-term and sustainable collaborations with communities and community- based organizations, to create a more just and equitable future;
- Develop and articulate their personal values, ethics, biases, and beliefs as they relate to their identities;
- Recognize systems of power, privilege and oppression and how structural, cultural, and relational contexts shape these systems.
The Community Engaged Scholars Program is meant to prepare students for lifelong civic engagement irrespective of their major or minor. It will provide students with the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to serve as ethical, respectful, and responsible agents of service and of social change in their local, national, and global communities.
The program curriculum consists of two four-credit and one two-credit core courses, one four-credit elective course, and completion of 300 hours of community and civic engagement/advocacy and/or service.
This course will introduce students to the theory, practice, and ethics of community-connected teaching, learning, and research.
A two-credit course introducing students to a wide variety of substantive issues/community engagement topics (e.g., Aging, Children/Youth, Criminal Justice, Racial and LGBTQ Justice, Disabilities, Health Inequalities, Immigration, etc.) and the ways in which they can further develop their knowledge of these topics, both inside and outside of the classroom; and
This course encourages students to reflect on what they’ve learned from their community-engaged experiences, completing a final project that supports a community partner in a significant way, and considering how they will pursue civic engagement in their lives after Brandeis.
The elective will be a Substantive Area course, linked by subject matter to the student’s specific area of engagement, and approved by the student’s program advisor. This course may double count with any major, minor or Brandeis Core requirement.
Students must log 300 hours of community service using EngageDeis, our community engagement platform. Students can find volunteer opportunities, connect with service clubs and community partners, and log service hours on this university-wide platform.
For more information, please contact Danielle Perry (firstname.lastname@example.org
), Associate Director of and and Lecturer in the Community Engaged Scholars program.