Experiential learning is a rapidly growing recruitment and teaching tool on campuses across the United States. CCE provides a platform for students to connect community and civic engagement to teaching, research and service. Through hands-on learning, students are able to gain an awareness of public issues and policy while enhancing their academic skills by refining them through the lens of community engagement. By taking the academic experience outside the traditional classroom, passion for a particular cause or idea can spark a higher level of student engagement in coursework and a commitment to lifelong engagement.
By accessing CCE's experiential learning opportunities, students may partner with the West Dallas community in a variety of ways including:
- work study employment;
- community service
- service learning integrated into an academic curriculum; and
- undergraduate and graduate level research projects.
CCE has active partnerships with 20+ not-for-profit organizations and 15 schools in West Dallas (15 minutes from campus by car). The partners' missions range from parenting training and early childhood interventions, to English language learning, mentoring and high-quality afterschool programming, college readiness, faith and social-justice issues, and engaging parents in political action. Learning opportunities are carefully screened and organized. Community partners work with CCE staff to develop mutually beneficial experiences and consultation from course instructors may be incorporated if desired.
Service Learning and Work Study: The typical service learning assignment is 3-4 hours per week. With approval from the instructor, off campus work may be connected to graded assignments and oral or written reflection opportunities during class. Work study positions may be up to 20 hours per week. Work study placements are approved by the SMU Student Employment Office. Participants must provide their own transportation.
Internships: Internships are available based upon the needs of partner organizations. The time period of the internship varies by placement and may be negotiated between the student and the employer in the community. Internships are highly competitive and require a higher skill level than service learning or work study.
Faculty Support: CCE supports faculty who are integrating service-learning and community-based research into their course(s). Student engagement in local communities enables SMU to provide opportunities for students to become productive citizens by engaging them with a wide range of experiences and learning opportunities on campus and beyond.