Community Engaged Scholars Program
Last updated: August 31, 2023 at 2:21 PM
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 Creative 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.
Megan Ross, Program Advisor
Associate Director of COMPACT
Near Eastern & Judaic Studies
Sociology, Health: Science, Society and Policy
African and African American Studies, Sociology
The Community Engaged Scholars Program (CESP) is open to all Brandeis undergraduates who entered Brandeis prior to June 1, 2023. Eligible students who are interested in participating in the program are encouraged to speak with the Associate Program Director in their first or second year at Brandeis and to take the Foundations course early in their Brandeis studies.
The Community-Engaged Scholars program consists of two four-credit and one two-credit core courses, completion of 300 hours of community engagement, and one four-credit elective course. Program completion will be recorded on the transcripts of graduating seniors.
- CESP 10a Foundations of Community Engagement (4 credits)
- Special Topics in Community Engagement (2 credits)
- Community Engagement Capstone: Connecting Theory and Practice (4 credits)
- 150 hours of Community and Civic Engagement, Advocacy and/or Service, tracked through CampusGroups.
- One Substantive Area course, linked in subject matter to the student's specific area of engagement, approved by the student's program advisor. This course may double count with any major, minor, or Brandeis Core requirement.
Note: No grade below a C- will be given credit toward the program. No course taken pass/fail may count toward the program requirements.
Students who complete the program will receive a notation on their transcript in recognition of their accomplishments.
Courses of Instruction
Foundations in Community Engagement
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Introduces students to the theory, practice, and ethics of community-connected service, learning, and research. The goal is to recognize opportunities for impact across a continuum of civic action. Through this work, students will find ways to consider themselves agents of social change, capable of innovative projects in a wide range of community organizations. The course will be led by faculty and complemented with guest lectures/discussions with community based practitioners. Usually offered every year.
- School of Arts and Sciences
- Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
- The Heller School for Social Policy and Management
- Brandeis International Business School
- Rabb School of Continuing Studies, Division of Graduate Professional Studies
- Courses of Instruction