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  Cornell University

Structural Models and Samples

Below are a number of structural models presented here as examples of community-engaged learning and/or research.

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Structural model: Course-based service activity

Community engagement that combines classroom teaching (before and/or during and/or after the service) with community partner-based service activity related to academic learning goals.

Learning outcomes

Civic engagement. Students attain the ability to connect and extend knowledge from academic study to civic life, in the workplace and the political realm, and in social and cultural communities.

Integrative learning. Students attain the ability to synthesize connections among experiences outside of the formal classroom in order to deepen their understanding of fields of study and broaden their own point of view.

Partnership. A partnership with a town, neighborhood, organization, or business (i.e., farm)

Example

Students enrolled in a class covering the history of U.S. immigration partner with civic, not-for-profits, or organizations that provide services to immigrant communities, interview local immigrants/refugees/farmworkers as part of an oral history project, or as a way to assess the needs and concerns of immigrant populations. Students also design a website that incorporates research on immigrant policies and legislation. In addition, students write a policy brief that supports a particular approach to immigration reform based on their research and engagement with course readings and discussion.

Structural model: Team-based learning or research project

Team-based project in learning or research designed and executed in collaboration with community partners to understand and analyze issues jointly identified by faculty and community members.

Learning outcomes

Civic engagement. Students attain the ability to connect, extend, and communicate knowledge from academic study to community engagement and to civic life, politics, and government.

Inquiry and analysis. Students learn to identify a focused and discrete topic with significant community impact, which addresses previously less explored challenges; by analyzing this topic students gain the ability to synthesize in-depth information from relevant scholarly and community sources representing various points of view and approaches and propose a solution or offer a set of recommendations.

Partnership. A partnership with an organization or business

Example

Planning, engineering, and architecture students who are enrolled in a community design studio, partner with a housing agency to build a model sustainable house in a planned affordable housing complex.

Structural model: Collaborative creative/artistic work

Mentored creative or artistic projects designed and executed in collaboration with community members that address or express community interests while enhancing creative scholarship.

Learning outcomes

Civic engagement. Students attain the ability to connect and extend knowledge from academic study to community engagement and to civic life, politics, and government.

Creative thinking. Students create an entirely new artifact or work by integrating alternate, divergent, or contradictory perspectives or ideas generated through their engagement with community members or interests.

Partnership. A partnership with a school and a neighborhood, public office, and/or civic organization

Example

Art students collaborate with middle and high school students to interview neighborhood residents and work with local artists to paint a mural in the center of the village/town that depicts key events and people and celebrates the unique history of the area based on interviews with local merchants, community members, and local public officials.

Structural model: Mentored internships

Mentored internship programs–within community-based organizations, governmental organizations, or industries serving communities–which are relevant to curricular goals and which enriching student learning.

Learning outcomes

Civic engagement. Students attain the ability to connect and extend knowledge from academic study to community engagement and to civic life, politics, and government.

Intercultural competence. Students gain the ability to interpret intercultural experience from the perspectives of more than one worldview and demonstrate the ability to act in a supportive manner that recognizes the feelings of another cultural group or community.

Partnership. A partnership with a non-governmental organization

Example

Pre-law students intern with a not-for-profit that supports the adjustment of recently released adults who were incarcerated in prison. The students produce a resource guide for the agency that contains resources for employment, health, insurance, housing, etc.

Pre-med students intern at the local free clinic and receive mentorship with local doctors and nurses on various aspects of patient care.

Structural model: Team-based consulting

Team-based consulting projects with community-based or government organizations related to curricular goals.

Learning outcomes

Civic engagement. Students attain the ability to connect and extend knowledge from academic study to community engagement and to civic life, politics, and government.

Teamwork. Students attain the ability to help the team move forward by articulating the merits of alternative ideas or proposals; they gain the skills to engage peer and community team members in ways that facilitate their contributions by constructively building upon or synthesizing the contributions of others as well as by welcoming others’ perspectives, including those of non-participants.

Partnership. A partnership with a municipal agency

Example

Students in a marketing class work in teams with local not-for-profit organizations to design, present, implement, and evaluate a marketing plan.

Faculty and students in landscape architecture consult with the city’s parks and recreation department to research and design a space for a local dog park. Students survey local residents and host community forums to include broad community input on the design of the dog park.

Also see

Learning Outcomes and Levels of Achievement | Partnership Examples