In pursuit of Slippery Rock University's educational mission, the Office for Community-Engaged Learning (OCEL) leverages service-learning and community engagement as powerful pedagogies to transform the intellectual, social, and leadership capacities of students to serve the common good and work toward the betterment of self and society. To that end, the Office for Community-Engaged Learning believes that service builds identity and promotes the formation of critically self-aware and socially-responsible citizens and civic-minded professionals. The OCEL aspires to create a community of premier thought leaders dedicated to catalyzing personal and social transformation that promotes realization of thriving communities within a more inclusive and just democratic society.
The OCEL employs three guiding principles as a strategy for achieving high-impact learning: CONNECT people and issues; TRANSFORM knowledge and awareness; and INSPIRE civic action. Aligned with the Experiential Learning Cycle (Kolb, 1984), the guiding principles ground our practice in experiential learning theory and inform our programmatic approach.
The OCEL embraces an expansive view and understanding of service along a continuum of broad public engagement activities. These range from sporadic charitable acts of volunteerism, to service-learning endeavors, to deep social change and advocacy work.
The OCEL supports transformational experiences in both curricular and co-curricular community engagement opportunities for diverse campus constituents in partnership with local community organizations. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners come together through the OCEL to create connections and opportunities to give and grow through learning and experience, and to build communities that thrive.
|Community Service & Learning||Civic Engagement & Leadership||Community-Engaged (Public) Scholarship|
|Community service & learning experiences involve working directly or indirectly with stakeholders to address community-defined needs and interests. Examples include, but are not limited to: collecting and donating food to a local food pantry (charity); participating in a one-day campus-community clean up (volunteering); being an on-going mentor or tutor to a local youth (community service); building a home in Virginia with Habitat for Humanity (domestic alternative break); or conducting wildlife-species inventories for a local environmental center in an academic course (curricular service-learning).
||Civic engagement and leadership is a "place-based" spectrum of involvement that serves a public purpose, working systematically through political and non-political processes to create change. Examples include, but are not limited to: informed participation in local, state, and national elections (political engagement); engaging in public discourse on local food deserts (non-political engagement); hosting an on-campus forum of candidates running for local office (political leadership); or organizing the creation of a community park to create safe outdoor space (non-political leadership).
||Community-engaged scholarship is the production and application of academic knowledge in collaboration with community expertise. Through mutually-beneficial partnerships, knowledge and scholarly products are created to address real world problems or create change. Examples include, but are not limited to: co-creating a community partner toolkit for service-learning (public resource); publication of findings of a collaborative, water pollution study leading to policy change (public policy); co-creation of a museum exhibit that documents and disseminates an important facet of local history (public education); or documenting the creation, maintenance, and sustainability of a long-term community/campus partnership (public engagement).