Engaged Department Initiative

Engaged Department Institute (Upcoming: Spring 2017)

The Office of Community Engaged Learning & Research is pleased to offer the Engaged Department Institute for for academic departments interested in the department as a unit of engagement and change. The purpose of the institutes was to help participating departments develop strategies to (1) include community-based work in both their teaching and their scholarship, (2) include community-based experiences as a standard expectation for majors, and (3) develop a level of unit coherence that will allow them to model successfully civic engagement and progressive change on the departmental level. The institute is facilitated by national experts and covers topics such as: 

  • the academic and civic effectiveness of community-based work;
  • discipline-specific models of service-learning integration;
  • supporting community-based work on both the faculty and the student level;
  • assessing community-based work on both the faculty and the student level;
  • community-based work as a vehicle of curricular integration; and
  • the community partner as departmental resource; the department as community resource.

A departmental teams generally consist of the following: the department chair, three faculty members, and a non-profit/public sector community partner with which members of the department have already worked or would like to work.

If your department is interested in this opportunity, please contact Monica Kowal at 277-3355.


Creating Community-Engaged Departments: Self-Assessment Rubric for the Institutionalization of Community Engagement in Academic Departments

Kevin Kecskes (2008)

Portland State University
This self-assessment rubric allows faculty and/or staff members to evaluate the capacity for community engagement within academic departments, as well as potential engagement opportunities.

Service-Learning Faculty Fellows Program (Upcoming: Fall 2017)

The UNM Service-Learning Faculty Fellows Program aims to increase the number, variety and quality of service-learning courses available on campus as well as lending greater legitimacy to service-learning with regards to tenure and promotion policies within departments, colleges, and the University as a whole. The program will provide resources and support to Fellows as they make service-learning an integral part of their teaching, research, and professional service. Program goals include:

  • Promoting faculty development, community-engaged teaching and learning, and engaged scholarship;
  • Advancing institutional change that enhances the integration of teaching and research with community engagement;
  • Impacting and strengthening existing community programs and policies within the city of Albuquerque and New Mexico by increasing public support and visibility within the community;
  • Working collaboratively and collectively with the Albuquerque and New Mexico community members to help solve the state’s most pressing civic and social issues; and,
  • Strengthening the University of New Mexico’s overall commitment to the community by broadening the university's involvement in public service activities at the local, state, national and international levels.

Program Structure

The program will consist of a set of responsibilities divided into two phases: (1) Professional Development Phase and (2) Academic Leadership Phase. Fellows will be expected to increase the number of available service-learning courses and contribute to the integrity and value of service learning as part of tenure, promotion, sabbatical, and merit processes and decisions. By virtue of their responsibilities, fellows will also be expected to generate community support and interest in campus service-learning initiatives. Faculty will maintain their status as a Service-Learning Faculty Fellow by offering at least one service-learning course per year in subsequence years and conducting one major activity (i.e. lecture, brownbag luncheon, workshop, etc.) that advances the mission of service-learning on campus and in the community.

Phase One: Professional Development

  • Participation in a 2-3 day service-learning workshop (during late-summer) presented to Fellows, interested faculty members, and any others who are interested in learning more about the pedagogy, philosophies, and practices of service-and-community-based learning.
  • Attend six seminars (three per semester) and two individual meetings with service-learning Mentors/Coordinators (one per semester).
  • Monthly cohort meetings designed to build faculty communities of learning.
    • Coordinate and secure community partnerships under the direction of the workshop coordinator.
    • Design a service-learning course that includes both learning and service outcomes, as well as appropriate assessment and reflective activities for students

Phase Two: Academic Leadership

  • Commit to offering at least one service-learning course within one year of completing the program. It is expected that this course be maintained in the Fellow’s department curriculum as an ongoing regular course offering, not taught as a one-time course. Fellows will have continued assistance and support of service-learning Coordinators during the course of the academic year.
  • Present the purpose and practice of the service-learning program and theme to internal and external audiences.  Fellows are, at minimum, expected to present their service-learning work to their college or department (at a faculty meeting or brown bag luncheon).
  • Alumni may be called upon to present their experience as instructors of each developed service-learning course during the following academic year to the future Service-Learning Faculty Fellows and/or serve as an advocate and resource for service learning in their home department and provide consultation on service learning to colleagues in their home department.
    • Lead development initiatives that enhance student involvement in service learning and co-curricular coursework and service.
    • Work collaboratively with assigned community partners to identify issues and opportunities for student and faculty participation.
    • After participating in the program, a faculty member can apply to participate in the Service-Learning Faculty Fellow Mentor Program, which involves mentoring current faculty fellows and participating in the development of service-learning faculty programming.
      • Assist with service-learning program evaluation and assessment activities.


Eligibility and Selection Process

The Faculty Fellows in Service Learning program is open to all faculty involved in undergraduate teaching (tenured and tenure-track faculty, professional and administrative educational staff, and adjunct/lecturer instructors) from any department on campus. Priority will be given to undergraduate courses taught by faculty members who are new or only marginally experienced with the pedagogy of service-learning and to those faculty who teach first-year courses in their discipline. Applicants must also have approval from department chairs and college deans. In its inaugural year, ten (10) faculty members will be selected for the Service-Learning Faculty Fellows Program; however, that number is expected to change year-to-year based on funding and success and interest in the program. 

An application must include the following items:

  1. Curriculum vitae
  2. A completed application form with the signature of the department chair and college dean indicating permission to participate in the program and a willingness to allow the applicant to teach a service-learning course
  3. A brief statement (no more than two pages) indicating your motivation for program participation and what you expect to gain from involvement

A search and screening committee composed of existing service-learning practitioners, the Director for the Center for Teaching Excellence, and a representative from the Provost’s Office will review applications and provide recommendations for selection based on the following criteria:

  • Clarity of anticipated professional gains from the program including statement of motivation and perception of service-learning
  • Clarity of strength of community partnership and benefit to community organizations, service recipients, and the health and welfare of the community, city, or state.
  • Alignment with University goals and mission.
  • Commitment of the faculty member to participate in all program requirements
  • Personal, professional, and departmental benefits

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Monica Kowal at 277-3355.

Service-Learning Course Design Institute (Upcoming: November 11 & 12, 2016)

The Service-Learning Course Design Institute is a two-day intensive hands-on introduction to community engaged course design. Faculty from across the campus, as well as K12 educators, work closely with experienced community-engaged faculty, community organizations and community engagement practitioners to design or redesign a course to work intentionally with a community partner. As a cohort, faculty continue to meet and reflect throughout the 2016-2017 academic year. Some of the topics covered include: 

  • Developing community partnerships
  • Active learning strategies for engagement
  • Experiential learning
  • Building student capacity
  • Building class community
  • Diversity and cultural competency

Through readings and facilitated discussions, you will begin the process of transforming your courses to work intentionally with community partners. After the institute, at meetings and events throughout the year, you will reconnect with community-engaged faculty and discuss your progress in transforming your courses.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Monica Kowal at 277-3355.