two students walking outside a building on campus

Learning in the Community (LINC): The Center for Community and Civic Engagement

Director: Richard B. Ellis, Ph.D.
Associate Director: Kristine Hart, M.A., M.C.J.
Benton Hall, Room 208
(785) 670-1950
rick.ellis@washburn.edu
kristine.hart@washburn.edu

Mission

Consistent with the mission of the University, Learning in the Community (LinC): The Center for Community and Civic Engagement promotes opportunities for Washburn students, faculty, and staff to engage in meaningful curricular and co-curricular experiences that enhance academic learning while improving the community. Through ongoing interaction with students, LinC provides opportunities for learning, leadership and engagement that result in the development of productive and responsible citizens and professionals in their given discipline.

Learning Outcomes

Washburn students completing any of the community engagement activities offered through LinC will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the issues facing people in the community (SLO #5).
  • Demonstrate an appreciation for the diverse composition of the community (SLO #5).
  • Articulate the needs of the community encountered through their community engagement experience (SLO #1).

Washburn students completing any of the academic community engagement programs offered through LinC will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the personal, professional and leadership skills necessary to address the needs of the population served (SLO #5).
  • Demonstrate the ability to read critically and analyze academic information related to the issues confronted through their engagement experiences with the community (SLO #4).
  • Demonstrate the ability to understand and think in an interdisciplinary way about the social issues related to inequality and communicate, both orally and in writing, this knowledge effectively (SLO #4).

Learning in the Community (LinC)

As the Center for Community and Civic Engagement at Washburn University, Learning in the Community (LinC) is the central unit responsible for developing, organizing, supporting, integrating, and assessing all community service and civic engagement activities.

To this end, LinC serves as the central unit for training, organizing, and educating community partners, community engaged students, and community engaged faculty to develop a cross cultural understanding for just community participation in a diverse local community and world. This is accomplished through programming, training, and leadership development that links academics and co-curricular experiences to build reciprocal relationships between community partners and the university.

LinC offers several programs for students. These include:

  • General Volunteer Opportunities: LinC has partnerships with numerous community agencies who offer a variety of volunteer opportunities for students.
  • Alternative Break Program: This program engages Washburn students in focused service away from campus over winter and spring academic breaks.
  • Community-Based Work Study: Students who qualify for Federal Work Study funds have the option of earning this money by working with a nonprofit in the community.
  • Community Service Transformational Experience (CSTE): The objective of the Community & Civic Engagement WTE is to graduate citizens who have a vision for how they can help make the community what it could be and not be resigned to accepting the community as it is. To achieve this, students engage with faculty, other students and the community in significant, meaningful engagement and are guided to reflect on the power and purpose of these experiences. Students participating in the Community & Civic Engagement WTE are required to complete 300 hours of combined community engagement and training and reflection with a community organization. Completion of the Community and Civic Engagement activities should not exceed three years. 
  • International Service Experience: Each year, LinC sponsors a two-week international trip where students, under the supervision of a faculty mentor, travel to a developing country to learn about the culture, history, and people of the country, and live with a family in a remote village for a week to engage in a service project with and for that community.
  • LinC Bonner Scholar Program: This is a national community engagement leadership and university honor program that requires a significant service commitment, mentored reflection meetings three times per month, and participation in group initiatives and projects with other members of the program. Members of the program engage in service to effect social change and build the capacity of the organization they work with; become knowledgeable about the issues that affect the local, national and international community in which we live; and develop broad-based leadership skills through their service experience to support their development as actively engaged citizens. This is based on the premise that college students have a unique and important ability to contribute to society in meaningful, lasting ways. The program is also meant to create a supportive community of students on campus whose common focus on community service gives them a sense of purpose and meaning while connecting their service back to their academic and professional goals. Washburn is one of only 57 colleges and universities that form a network committed to the Bonner Foundation model of Community Engaged Learning. LinC provides opportunities for all members of the program to interact with other members in the network and to engage in service with national partners. Individuals who successfully complete the program receive the University honor of LinC Bonner Scholar, which is recognized upon graduation at the appropriate commencement.
  • Service Learning: LinC provides assistance to faculty in developing projects to be included in their curriculum, introduction to service sites, and assistance in placement of students.
  • Community-Based Research: LinC provides assistance to faculty in developing classroom research projects that assist communities and organizations with policy or program issues. The research is designed to be community driven and student directed with faculty support.

Civic Engagement Poverty Studies Minor

This minor provides students with the opportunity to understand and address the issues that emerge in their field as a result of poverty and inequality. Poverty is complex and as such, no single academic discipline can provide a holistic examination of the issue or solution for addressing the poverty that exists. It takes people from different backgrounds, with differing academic preparation, working together to bring a collaborative understanding of the issue and to make a real difference in the world in which they live. Therefore, this minor, by the nature of its focus, is interdisciplinary. This means that each student can have the experience of collaborating with peers who hold different pieces of the puzzle of how to effectively address poverty. The Civic Engagement Poverty Studies Minor requires 18 credit hours of coursework consisting of nine hours of required courses and nine hours of elective courses.

Learning Outcomes

  • Washburn students completing any of the academic community engagement programs offered through LinC, including the Poverty Studies Minor and the CCWTE will be able to:
  • Demonstrate the personal, professional and leadership skills necessary to address the needs of the population served (SLO #5).
  • Demonstrate the ability to read critically and analyze academic information related to the issues confronted through their engagement experiences with the community (SLO #4).
  • Demonstrate the ability to understand and think in an interdisciplinary way about the social issues related to inequality and communicate, both orally and in writing, this knowledge effectively (SLO #4).

Course Offerings

CE 250  Community Service Transformational Experience I - Associating  (1)  

Students enrolling in this course will complete 50 hours of community service with an approved organization or agency and will meet regularly to reflect on their community service with an approved organization or agency. The focus of the service, readings, and discussions in CSTE I is on the basic concept in civic engagement--associating. To be human is to live among and with others. Our natural habitat is society. This is where civic engagement begins, with a gathering of people, some joining together, for us to have any kind of community or society. Associating is the underlying condition of civically engage activity--it is also the general form of civically engaged activity. At the heart of community service is the association or connection we develop with others. The readings, discussion, and writing for CE 250 CSTE I are chosen to help us think and talk about how, why, and with whom we associate through service (David & Lynn, 2006). Prerequisite: None.

CE 251  Introduction Poverty Studies  (3)  

This course examines poverty as a problem for individuals, families, and societies. It focuses on the United States, perhaps the most impoverished of any developed nation. Introduction to Civic Engagement-Poverty Studies is the first course in the Civic Engagement minor. This course emphasizes discussion intended to advance understanding and prompt critical analyses of the assigned readings. Prerequisites: None.

CE 350  Community Service Transformational Experience II - Serving and Giving  (1)  

Students enrolling in this course will complete 50 hours of community service with an approved organization or agency and will meet regularly to reflect on their service.The focus of the service, readings and discussions in CSTE II are based on two concepts of civic engagement – serving and giving. Service, including public or community service, has the unusual feature of serving at least two different ends: service expressly benefits those served but at the same time benefits the servant as well (Davis & Lynn, 2006). For the first half of this section the readings and discussion will consider both kinds of benefits—the benefits to the server and those served. The focus of the second half of this section will look at the experience of giving. Very often we give gifts that fill us with joy and other times we have given gifts that lead us to resentment and regret (Davis & Lynn, 2006). Much of the time the act of giving and receiving leads us to question the act itself. "Should I have given that man on the street that dollar?" (Davis & Lynn, 2006). The readings and discussion in this section will explore the motives of the human experience of giving. Prerequisite: CE 250 or consent.

CE 351  Community Service Transformational Experience III - Leading  (1)  

Students enrolling in this course will complete 50 hours of community service with an approved organization or agency and will meet regularly to reflect on their service. Leadership, in most cases, is not something one learns or even prepares for--more often it sneaks up on you. One day you find yourself in charge, creating the experience of others, for better or worse. You look up one day and you are a teacher, a coach, a program director. You may have stepped up because of an event in your community, organized a group in response to that issue and now you are in charge. What do you do? How do you lead? (Davis & Lynn, 2006). The readings in this section do not answer these questions, but rather through discussion may help ease the burden and improve the leadership experience. Prerequisite: CE 350 or consent.

CE 400  Civic Engagement Practicum  (3)  

Students enrolling in this course will complete 300 hours of community-based service over the course of one year. Students will participate in a monthly seminar to reflect on the issues facing the community while exploring solutions to identified problems. This course can be taken as an alternative to the three one credit hour Community Service Transformational Experience Seminars (CE 250, CE 350 and CE 351). Prerequisite: CE 251

CE 401  Civic Engagement - Poverty Studies Capstone  (3)  

The Civic Engagement-Poverty Studies Capstone will involve students in Community Based Research (CBR) to solve problems of various community organizations. Students will come from different majors and will play a role in selecting the topics for focus through negotiation with Community Partners. They will share perspectives of their major disciplines as well as their varied experiences in the field thus ensuring the interdisciplinary nature of the inquiry. Students will engage in various ways with poverty-related programs, communities, and experts to address research needs identified by Center affiliated Community Partners. Students will produce a final research paper and will be expected to present their research in a public venue such as a conference, Apeiron or the WTE Day of Transformation. Prerequisites: CE 250 and CE 251, CE 350, CE 351, or CE 250 and CE 400, or Approved Practicum experience or instructor consent.

Electives (9 credits)

Students must choose at least three of the following course options with no more than two courses in the same discipline. However, the student will choose the courses based on a focus area. This list is not to be considered exclusive in any way; students who wish to include other courses they feel may be appropriate toward the minor can propose the inclusion of such courses to the faculty and staff of LinC for consideration. The student must include not only the course title but also a written rationale of how he or she sees the course fitting with the overall goal of the Civic Engagement Poverty Studies Minor. New courses developed or identified in any discipline that would be related to the topic of the minor may be added as well.

AL 375Health Care Policy3
BI 203Human Impact on the Environment 13
CN 330Communication in Conflict and Negotiation3
CN 341Persuasive Speaking 13
CN 351Interpersonal Communication3
CN 361Communication in Social Movements3
CN 369Critical Studies3
EC 100Introduction to Economics 13
EC 200Principles of Microeconomics 13
EC 201Principles of Macroeconomics 13
EC 341Labor Economics3
EN 110Multicultural American Literature 13
GG 151Urban Geography3
HL 377Critical Issues in Health2
HI 329Civil Rights Movement3
HI 363Borderlands and Beyond3
HS 300Prevention and Social Change3
PH 102Ethics: Introduction to Moral Problems 13
PO 107Kansas and the U.S., State and Local Government 13
PO 305Public Policy3
PY 325Community Psychology3
SO 101Social Problems 13
SO 323The City and Urban Life3
SO 207Race and Ethnic Relations3
SO 310Social Class in the U.S.3
SO 323The City and Urban Life3
SO 338Strategies for Social Change3
SW 350Social Policy and Programs3
SW 390Contemporary Issues in Social Work1-3

Students may not use required major courses to fulfill requirements of the minor.

Community Engaged Learning

Consistent with the Vision 2022 statement Learning in the Community functions as the lead unit for the enhancement of Community Engaged Learning. Together with the Center for Teaching Excellence and Learning (C-TEL), LinC provides the connections between community organizations and faculty to initiate the Community Engaged Learning interactions. Community Engaged Learning projects are any student centered, interactive, experiential educational endeavors, either curricular or co-curricular, that are clearly community focused and action based. The purpose is to move from an observer of the conditions that exist in our society to intellectual awareness and informed action.

Community Engaged Learning (CEL) is a project that:

  • Is designed to encourage students to reflect on their connections and commitments to the community in which they live (local, national, global).
  • Brings campus partners (faculty, staff, students) and community partners together to address specific issues, problems or concerns.
  • Is created and designed through collaboration of campus partners and community partners.
  • Encourages students to integrate academic and practical knowledge.
  • Involves structured and guided reflection by students on the meaning and broader implications of the CEL project/activity.
  • Is designed to benefit students through learning and community partners through capacity building of the organization.
  • Is designed and carried out with explicit, clearly articulated Learning Outcomes which are assessed.

Learning Outcomes for Students Participating in Community Engaged Learning

It is suggested that at least one of the following outcomes be included in the development of a CEL activity/course. Upon completion of a CEL project or activity students will:

  • Connect and extend knowledge (facts, theories etc.) from their own academic study/field/discipline to civic engagement.
  • Demonstrate evidence of adjustment in their own attitudes and beliefs as a result of working within and learning from a diversity of communities and cultures.
  • Articulate a clarified sense of civic identity.
  • Demonstrate abilities in self-awareness and self-reflection.
  • Show evidence of initiative and team leadership.
  • Tailor communication strategies to effectively express, listen, and adapt to others to establish relationships.
  • Articulate the value of public action.
  • Demonstrate ability and commitment to collaboratively work across and within community context and structures to achieve a civic aim.