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A logo of Community Engaged courses.About Community Engaged Courses at Point Park University

Community Engaged sections of courses differ from traditional sections of courses by how they include thoughtful and purposeful engagement with the community outside of campus into the course content.

Community Engaged courses must include the following:

  1. Investment: Does the course include a significant investment of time or thought (15+ hours throughout the course of the semester) into your community. Are you focused on a real-world social challenge?
  2. Need: Does the service meet a real community need? Has that been defined by your local community?
  3. Connection: Is the engagement connected to the course so that students can make connections between the course content and service experiences?
  4. Reflection: Do you have mechanisms built throughout the semester to allow students to reflect on the engagement and its meaning both in their lived experiences and in society?
  5. Reciprocity: Is the partnership going to provide mutually beneficial outcomes for students and the community partners? Do both serve as teacher and learner equally?

Community Engaged course components may include:

  • Service learning projects where students are volunteering their time to a nonprofit organization
  • Case studies investigating local communities, organizations, or challenges
  • Guest speakers or panels representing relevant practitioner and/or community perspectives
  • Site visits to organizations, neighborhoods, projects, exhibits, etc.
  • Community-focused investigations by students, involving field assignments or other experiential learning opportunities
  • Team-based research projects developed in partnership with community organizations
  • Reflective practices aimed at exploring students’ positionality and agency in community and drawing connections between classroom work and community context

Spring 2020 Community Engaged Courses

CENG 150 Introduction to Community Engagement

This course is designed to introduce students to the theories of communities and community engagement. Students will learn to assess community needs through human centered design thinking and explore approaches to social change, strategic planning, and conflict management. 

JOUR 473/573 Social Media Campaigns

Students in the class partner individually with nonprofit organizations or start-up businesses seeking social media support. Students will create an entire social media strategic plan for the organization.

DIGI 350 DA Community Animation Project

Students in the class are working together on video projects for Beverly’s Birthdays, a local nonprofit that serves homeless and disadvantaged youth in the region.

ACCT 295 VITA I (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance)

Students in the class are trained at part of the United Way’s VITA Program in completing income tax returns for community members in need. Students will then complete taxes as part of their coursework.

CMPS 460 Mobile Application Development/CMPS 480 Senior Project

Students in these classes are working together on an app for Family House app to keep guests informed in an efficient and timely manner. Family House is a local nonprofit housing option for people seeking hospital treatment and their families.