Engaged College Initiative

The College of Human Ecology (CHE) is partnering with the David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement to recognize, support, and advance community-engaged learning (CEL) throughout the college. This engaged college initiative reflects the next phase of the Einhorn Center's work to involve more Cornell undergraduates in CEL. The new approach empowers each college to support the engaged learning opportunities that best fit the mission of their college. In CHE, the initiative is overseen by the CHE Community-Engaged Learning Leadership Team.

By integrating classroom and co-curricular learning with community engagement, CHE prepares students to lead lives of contribution. The partnership with the Einhorn Center formalizes this college-wide initiative, as we begin to make enduring structural changes to our curricular and co-curricular programming that will result in an integration of CEL across research, education, and outreach.

Beginning in January 2021, a Community-Engaged Learning Advisory Board of CHE faculty, staff, students, and community partners is guiding strategic changes to enhance engaged learning opportunities for our students. As the initiative progresses, new funding opportunities will be announced to the CHE community.

Please reach out to the CHE Engaged Learning Coordinator, Dr. Kristen Elmore (kce28@cornell.edu), with questions about the engaged college initiative and upcoming funding opportunities.

Five goals of CHE’s Engaged College Initiative

CHE’s engaged college initiative is focused on supporting community-engaged learning (CEL) as commensurate with our college’s mission: improving lives by exploring and shaping human connections to natural, social and built environments. This initiative will yield opportunities for: enhancing learning experiences for our students that give rise to critical thinking and meaningful work; deepening our preparation of students to be leaders in addressing complex social issues; positioning CHE to be a leader on campus in the integration of CEL with our college mission; creating and evaluating a model that can extend to other colleges and universities; and generating sufficient resources to sustain this model going forward.

Goal 1: Create an Engaged Learning curriculum that is integrated into all CHE majors

Over a three-year period, this initiative will focus on direct work with each unit (department) to support the infusion of CEL into the curricula of all CHE majors.

To facilitate sustainable integration of CEL into majors, we will work with departments to evaluate the opportunities for CEL in current and potential course offerings and their connection to student learning outcomes (CEL curriculum mapping). Two funding mechanisms will support CEL curriculum development:

  1. Curriculum development grants for majors: A larger financial commitment (maximum of $20,000) for departments to thoroughly evaluate their curriculum and robustly integrate CEL into their major(s). We anticipate that these grants will be led by the unit chair and director of undergraduate studies, and may include the director of graduate studies and other faculty as well. 
  2. Course development grants: Funding (maximum of $4,000) to support the creation of a new course or the incorporation of CEL to an existing course. We anticipate that these grants will be led by individual instructors who will participate in CEL training (modeling on existing Einhorn Center workshops conducted with new curriculum grantees).

In conjunction with these curricular funding opportunities, we will create a CHE CEL mentorship network to link seasoned CEL practitioners within CHE with faculty who are launching new CEL courses and those interested in developing a CEL course.

Engaged Course Grant RFP is now available.

Goal 2: Expand the co-curricular engaged learning offerings for undergraduate students

Human Ecology students currently participate in a number of engaged learning opportunities outside of the classroom. We will expand these offerings, with a critical eye toward ensuring affordability and accessibility. This process will rely on existing strengths within CHE’s Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research and the Cornell Cooperative Extension network to increase students’ access to co-curricular engagement with community partners.

For students, we will design and launch student-focused funding mechanisms that support student engagement in tailorable ways. These include partnering with the Einhorn Center to support student leadership and ambassador programming, and will extend to support for student Summer Community-Engaged Internship Opportunities and Serve-in-Place Awards/Travel Awards.

For faculty and staff, we will offer support for co-curricular student programming through CHE Engaged Opportunity grants.

CHE Engaged Opportunity grants RFP is now available.

Goal 3: Broaden engaged learning within faculty research

CHE is home to high-level research-active faculty, and student participation in research is among the highest in the university. We are designing a model of investment to encourage faculty to include undergraduate CEL opportunities in their broader grant writing efforts while also seeding new, promising CEL research ideas.

Engaged Research Grant funding will be available to faculty in two forms:

  1. Engaged Research "matching grants" will provide matching funds (up to $5000) to supplement funding received from external grant sources and directed toward CEL undergraduate research experiences. These grants are intended to encourage faculty to include undergraduate research experiences in their current and future grants while also providing funding to enrich and expand those CEL experiences for students.
  2. Engaged Research "seed grants" for new ideas that involve undergraduates in community-engaged research.

CHE Engaged Research Seed grant RFP is now available.

Goal 4: Establish tools to assess the growth and impact of community-engaged learning in CHE

In close collaboration with the Einhorn Center, we will develop a multilevel rubric to evaluate outcomes for each participant in the engaged learning curriculum and co-curricular experiences: the students, the teaching assistants (if applicable), the faculty and the community partner(s). A unique aspect of the rubric is to also assess the synergy among these participants to appreciate how best to leverage these relationships for optimal learning outcomes for students, teaching effectiveness for faculty and teaching assistants, and benefits for the community partner. These analyses will contribute to an overarching assessment of progress towards creating an engaged college.

Goal 5: Demonstrate impact on student learning, community partner mission, and CHE success in creating an engaged learning college

To evaluate progress in achieving our aims, we will chart the impact of CEL courses and co-curricular experiences on student outcomes, community partners and their mission, faculty experiences, and contributions of these student experiences to the development of an engaged major. Monitoring progress will identify effective approaches as this initiative moves forward.

CHE Community-Engaged Learning Leadership Team

  • Rachel Dunifon, Dean
  • Anthony Burrow, Associate Dean for Extension and Outreach
  • Marianella Casasola, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs
  • Nancy Wells, Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education
  • Kristen Elmore, Engaged Learning Coordinator

CHE Community-Engaged Learning Advisory Board

  • Alessandra Cruz, HD ‘22
  • Maureen Ekwebelem, HD ‘21
  • Rick Geddes, Professor, PAM
  • Kimberly Kopko, Associate Director of CCE
  • Tasha Lewis, Associate Professor, FSAD
  • Deanne Maxwell, Advising Associate
  • Candace Megerssa, PAM ‘22
  • Laurie Miller, Associate Director, CIPA Public Engagement
  • Jeanne Moseley, Director, Global Public Health Program
  • Anthony Ong, Professor, Psychology
  • Anna Steinkraus, Program Coordinator, CCE Tompkins County
  • Jennifer S. Tiffany, Executive Director, CUCE-NYC
  • Rana Zadeh, Associate Professor, DEA