Community Engagement


Program Offered:
Certificate - Community Engagement

Program Overview

UW-Parkside’s certificate in community engagement integrates the needs and resources of our communities into the classroom to fulfill clearly articulated learning outcomes. The certificate complements all majors and prepares students to be effective leaders and citizens in their communities. Students work with community partner organizations to help address environmental, social, health, economic, and cultural issues through community engagement projects and placements. Approaches to addressing societal changes include capacity building of existing community organizations, developing strategies to effect political policy changes, and the implementation of communication campaigns. Central to all community engagement courses is the transformative act of reflection.

Community engagement classes are formatted to focus on projects, presentations, and/or placement of students, to fulfill the needs of organizations in Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee, Northern Illinois, and beyond. In the past, students have helped to create phone apps for public buses, community gardens to provide fresh produce to local food banks, worked with organizations to build homes, tutor school children, maintain public waterways and eco-systems, and conceptualized and implemented multi-faceted communication campaigns. Some community engagement classes provide support in research (surveys, focus groups), marketing and public relations, fundraising and grant writing, and the design of databases, computer apps, and digital artifacts.

Community-engaged learning experiences strengthen students’ ability to contribute meaningfully to their communities, enhance their professional preparation, and provide relevance to course work. Community-engaged classes are designed to help students:

  • Use effective, inclusive communication methods to promote civic action in local, national and/or global contexts.
  • Exercise reasoned judgement through critical thinking to collaboratively address challenges of the local, national and/or global communities.
  • Work effectively within diverse teams to address a community need.
  • Demonstrate ongoing social and personal responsibility to promote civic action.
  • Connect and extend classroom learning to engagement outside the classroom.

Requirements for Admission to the Community Engagement Certificate

Complete a plan declaration form available online or in the Academic Advising and Career Center. Declarations will be reviewed and approved by the faculty director or the community engagement coordinator.

Requirements for the Community Engagement Certificate (13 credits)

The certificate requirements include two required courses and three elective courses that are designated community-based learning (CBL).

  1. Required Introductory Course (3 credits)
    CBL 101 Introduction to Community Engagement 3 cr
  2. Elective Courses (9 credits)
    • Courses must be CBL designated courses in the course schedule.
    • At least three credits (of nine) at the 300-or 400-level.

    • Internships may be used with preapproval from the CBL academic advisor and should conform university policies and procedures for internships (see Policies section of this catalog).

  3. Required Capstone Course (1 credit)
    CBL 495 Capstone in Community Engagement* 1 cr
    *Note: Another capstone course may be used to fulfill this requirement with approval from the faculty director or community engagement coordinator.

Courses in Community Engagement (CBL)


Introduction to Community Engagement
Prereq: None. Freq: Fall, Spring.
Introduces community engagement concepts, theories, and practices. Emphasizes developing skills in critical thinking, collaborative problem-solving, and understanding complex community issues in local, global, interpersonal, and institutional contexts. Requires 15 hours of service learning with a community organization.

3 cr

Special Topics in Community Engagement
Prereq: None. Freq: Occasionally.
Selected topics in community based learning will be examined.

1-3 cr

Special Topics in Community Engagement
Prereq: None. Freq: Occasionally.
Selected topics in community based learning will be examined.

1-3 cr

Community Engagement Capstone
Prereq: CBL 101 or consent of instructor. Freq: Fall, Spring.
Involves the production of a reflective electronic portfolio and digital story. May be integrated into the capstone course for student’s major.

1 cr

Independent Study
Prereq: Consent of instructor and department chair. Freq: Occasionally.
Independent work on community-based projects and/or issues under faculty supervision.

1-4 cr
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