CSU Impact - CSL Newsletter
Volume III, No. 2
Your monthly source of Community Service-Learning News
October 19, 2005

News Stories

Faculty and community partners brainstorm over course service-learning activities during Cal Poly Pomona's annual service-learning summer course development workshop.

The Engaged Scholar

In this month’s issue, we invite you to join Rich Berrett from CSU Fresno as he discusses the Challenges of Engagement.

Service-Learning Job Openings


Campus News

CSU Monterey Bay (CSUMB) and CSU Stanislaus were each awarded a $600,000 grant funded by Department of Housing and Urban Development's Hispanic Serving Institutions Assisting Communities (HSIAC) program.

  • CSU Stanislaus CARES Project will fund the creation of a multi-service resource center and provide educational opportunities and life skills training for the area's homeless population.

  • CSUMB will be at the center of a long-term effort to redevelop two areas in downtown Salinas that will meet both the social service needs of the homeless and the affordable housing needs of the area residents.

Both projects will mobilize service-learning students and faculty to play an integral in addressing these significant community concerns.


The Engaged Department - Creating and Sustaining Engagement in an Academic Unit

What is an Engaged Department Anyway? An Engaged Department (ED) is an academic unit that has embraced the mission of engagement with community as its organizing principle. Most often, EDs are thought of as corresponding to academic departments, but in many cases units of engagement can be smaller (a program) or even larger such as a college or an entire institution.

Campus Compact’s Engaged Department Toolkit characterizes an Engaged Department as one with the following three characteristics: (1) includes community-based work in both their teaching and their scholarship, (2) includes community-based experiences as a standard expectation for majors, and (3) develops a level of coherence that will allow departments to model successfully civic engagement and progressive change (Battistoni, Gelmon, Saltmarsh, & Wergin, 2003).

When working to create an ED, faculty must think beyond the creation of a few departmental service-learning courses and expand the notion of engagement to include:

  • integration of civic engagement into entire curricular sequences;
  • expansion of research agendas to include investigation of problems identified as critical by local communities;
  • recognition of faculty and student service to community, and;
  • opening of opportunities for community and student representatives to have a voice in departmental planning.

For many departments, the process of becoming engaged induces a profound change that impacts the way in which faculty work together.

To help departments think through many of the issues involved in becoming engaged, we have created an Engaged Department website that provides definitions, exercises, and other resources related to engagement.

Perspectives from Two Engaged Departments

Since 2001, 32 departments representing 16 of the 23 CSU campuses participated in the systemwide Engaged Department Institutes, offered in partnership with Campus Compact. Below are two perspectives of faculty who participated in the 2003 Institute.

  • Dr. Janice Carr of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo discusses how the accounting department’s participation in the Engaged Department Institute reinforced the campus’ long-standing tradition of Learn by Doing.

  • CSU Northridge’s Department Chair of Child and Adolescent Development, Dr. Joyce Munsch, shares the progress and successes that her department has had in becoming a more engaged departmental community consisting of faculty, students and community partners.