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    CEL Program Info


    The Community Engaged Leaders (CEL) Program develops civic leaders by cultivating students’ ability to integrate and apply learning toward solving complex social challenges. The program aims to focus students’ academic studies and co-curricular experiences toward a capstone project that culminates their college experience and impacts the common good.

    Program Component Overview

    During the spring of a student’s first year, they may apply to enter the CEL program, beginning their sophomore year.  For more information about eligibility for the program and how to apply, click here.

    This multi-year, cohort-based program guides students through the following phases*. To receive the certificate, students progress through the following sequence:




    Commit Sophomore Year


    Develop deep, systems-level understanding of an issue



    2 foundation courses** that explore in depth the causes, consequences, history, or context of a social problem.

    Project (~75 hrs):

    Focus commitments toward one social or environmental issue through experiential learning in leadership roles and deep learning around the issue in and outside of the classroom.

    Options to fulfill deep commitment to an issue:

    • Leadership roles in CCE or other engaged Student Organizations
    • Serving as a Partnership Coordinator for a community organization (liaison for the site, help recruit students)
    • Leadership within CCE student programs (Community Engaged Scholars, Public Achievement, BreakOut, CC Farm)
    • Administrative leadership through CCE student employee role

    Learning Alongside the Classroom:

    1.       Blockly cohort meetings.

    2.       Blockly, attend a co-curricular learning opportunity that helps you to understand the issue in which you are interested.  Options include:

    • Participating in a CCE issue coalition
    • Attending events during CCE Co-op issue awareness weeks (spring)
    • Attending events on or off campus that relate to your issue of interest

    Organize Junior Year

    Through a “collective impact” framework, identifying intersection of individual assets and gaps in community work


    Take a course** that increases students’ understanding of how to affect social change through either giving you skills to assess needs and solve community problems, or through teaching broader strategies and models of social change.

    Project (~75 hrs):

    Gain skills in community organizing within a collective impact framework.  Continuing one’s community work highly encouraged.

    Options to fulfill:

    • CCE Co-op
    • Collective impact organization of your choice on or off campus

    Collective Impact (CI) is the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem, using a structured form of collaboration.

    Learning Alongside the Classroom:

    1.       Blockly cohort meetings

    2.       Blockly skill-based trainings (participating or facilitating):

    • 3 out of 4 blocks each semester, attend a co-curricular learning opportunity that helps you to build a skill that enables you to better engage in community work.
    • 1 out of 4 blocks each semester, help facilitate a Community Engaged Scholars workshop, or other CCE student program workshop.

    Impact Senior Year

    gaining experience in investing one’s assets and passions into community needs



    Seek to integrate capstone project with thesis.

    Project (~75 hrs):

     Implement a capstone project as a community-engaged signature work -- a “culminating experience -- or a signature work -- in which students synthesize their knowledge and skills across general education, majors, the cocurriculum, and off-campus study, applying what they know and can do to important, unscripted real-world problems” (Hoy and Wolfe 2016).

    Continuing one’s work in the Co-op or collective impact organization highly encouraged.

    Phases are “book-ended” by periods of planning and reflection in collaboration with the CCE's director, in which students create written plans of action at the beginning of the year and papers that summarize and defend how they fulfilled each component of the phase at the end of the year.  These two summative papers, along with the write up of the Capstone project, collectively form a CEL Portfolio that can be used to help demonstrate and articulate one’s commitment to the common good and ability to affect change.

    *For each program component, students will use the Summit platform to submit courses and experiences to the CCE Director for approval of each step.

    **At least one course used to fulfill the expectations of the CEL program must have a CBL component. CBL courses must fit within the parameters of the CBL designation, as specified by the CCE, but do not need to have been officially tagged as CBL Students may appeal for courses they will or have taken to fulfill this program component.

    Cohort Model

    Students progress through the program as a cohort, and are expected to meet with this cohort of peers blockly.  In these student-led, student-centered meetings, we focus on sharing, reflecting on, integrating, and collectively problem-solving experiences in the community and what students are learning in and outside of the classroom.

    To hold all students accountable to the cohort, students commit to attending all meetings, or in their absence contribute to an online discussion in writing.  Students who do not actively and regularly participate to the cohort in person (or writing, if abroad or unable to attend due to class commitments) will be asked to leave the program.


    Capstones proposals will be presented to and workshopped by the entire CEL cohort at the end of a participant’s junior year.  Participants will also identify a faculty Capstone Adviser by the end of their junior year who is willing to support the project and meet with the student blockly during their senior year.  At the beginning of their senior year, students will formally propose a capstone project in writing and then will publicly share their capstone project to the campus and wider community at the end of the year.

    If funding is needed to implement the project, students may apply for funding from the CCE.


    If these components are fulfilled, the commitments and achievements of graduating students will be celebrated and honored through a final capstone celebration, a signed certificate endorsed by the Provost’s Office, and graduation stoles.