Civic Engagement courses at UM-Flint are based on High-Impact Educational Practices designed to deepen students’ learning and prepare students to be educated citizens. According to the Association of American Colleges & Universities, civic engagement courses (also known as experiential learning, service-learning, and community-based learning courses) benefit students by providing opportunities to apply course concepts in the real world and reflect on their learning experience in ways that synthesize their academic learning with first-hand experiences (AAC&U, 2008). Civic engagement courses help students develop their professional networks and meaningful relationships in the community, which can lead to internships or even permanent jobs after graduation!
Civic Engagement Definitions
Civic engagement denotes “collaborative activity that builds on the resources, skills, expertise, and knowledge of the campus and community to improve the quality of life and to advance the campus mission. Civic engagement includes teaching, research, and service in and with the community” (Bringle and Hatcher, 2004).
Experiential learning occurs when students are placed in a situation where they think and interact, learn in and from a real-world environment. While traditional teaching and learning is typically teacher-directed, content-driven, text-oriented and classroom-based, experiential learning involves active participation of the student in planning, development and execution of learning activities, is shaped by the problems and pressures arising from the real-world situation and occurs most effectively outside the classroom. (Source: Cornell University, cals.cornell.edu/cals/teaching/elr)
Service-learning is a type of experiential learning that is mutually beneficial by design, allowing students to apply their learning outside of the classroom while genuinely addressing community issues. It is a course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students (a) participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and (b) reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of personal values and civic responsibility (Bringle, R., Hatcher, J., & McIntosh, R. Analyzing Morton’s Typology of Service Paradigms and Integrity. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, Fall 2006, Vol 13, No. 1).