A manual for Connect2Complete Sub-grantees


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A Manual
for Connect2Complete

Innovations in

Community-Engaged Learning

with Developmental Education Students

Donna Killian Duffy, Professor of Psychology, Middlesex Community College, Bedford & Lowell, MA

Shana Berger, Project Manager Connect2Complete, Campus Compact
May 2012

Campus Compact is a national coalition of almost 1,200 college and university presidents—representing some 6 million students—who are committed to fulfilling

the public purposes of higher education. As the only national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, Campus Compact promotes public and community service that develops students’ citizenship skills,
helps campuses forge effective community partnerships, and provides resources
and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning
into the curriculum.

Connect2Complete (C2C)

C2C is a program that puts successful community college students at the center of their peers’ success. These peer advocates draw on their own expertise to support student cohorts in achieving their goals.

Campus Compact has funded nine community colleges in Florida, Ohio, and Washington to run C2C pilot programs, and funded the three related state Compact affiliates to support these pilots. These programs will engage more than 4,500 low-income students who are enrolled in developmental education courses and who experience significant barriers to obtaining postsecondary credentials. Through peer-to-peer advocacy and community engaged-learning opportunities, students will be supported in their goals of achieving academic success and credential completion, and will be more engaged with their peers, the community college, and the broader community.

The Connect2Complete program and this publication are made possible with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Broward College

Miami Dade College

Tallahassee Community College
Cuyahoga Community College

Lorain County Community College

Owens Community College
Big Bend Community College

Green River Community College

Edmonds Community College
State Affiliates
Florida Campus Compact

Ohio Campus Compact

Washington Campus Compact


We would like to thank the three professors listed below for contributing descriptions of their discipline-based developmental education courses that integrate service-learning. Their course outlines and reflections offer developmental education faculty newer to service-learning pedagogy, rigorous and creative approaches to engaging students in service-learning.

Professor Daniel Griesbach
English Department
Edmonds Community College

Professor Suzanne Pearl
General Studies
Miami Dade College

Professor Monica Poole
History and Social Sciences and Learning Communities
Bunker Hill Community College



Why this Manual? 7
The Context 7
Community-Engaged Learning 9
Service 9
Service-Learning 9

Co-Curricular Service Programs 10

Integration & Complementary Engagement Activities 11
Civic Responsibility 12
Partnerships & Reciprocity 13
Reflection 13
Assessment 14
Peer Advocates & Community-Engaged Learning 16
Structures for Integrating PAs into Community-Engaged Learning 17


Community-Engaged Learning: Bridging Multiple Missions in the

Community College 19
Community-Engaged Learning: Unearthing Student Assets 19
Community-Engaged Learning: Making the Learning Relevant 20
Broadening the Definition of “Community” 20

Example: Edmonds Community College 24

Example: Miami-Dade College 46
Example: Bunker Hill Community College 56

Rubric: Civic Knowledge, Skills & Values 65

Learning Strategies & Assessment Methods Worksheet 66
Reflection Activities & Multiple Intelligences 67
Service-Learning Concept Maps 68
Why this Manual?
Connect2Complete seeks to bring departments together from across individual campuses to better serve students holistically. Because of this, staff and faculty come to the work with varying levels of experience with community-engaged learning. For those who are newer to the field, this manual is not a substitute for the many resources on best practices (including several produced by Campus Compact) for incorporating community-engaged learning into college courses; however, it will provide some specific touch points for all those involved in C2C.
The purposes of this manual are to:

  • Provide grantees with common language and context for our shared work

  • Share a concrete definition of community-engaged learning

  • Articulate grant expectations around integrating community-engaged learning into Connect2Complete (C2C) programs

  • Suggest ways to structure and integrate peer advocates as leaders in community-engaged learning activities

  • Highlight the assets that developmental education students bring to community-engaged learning and the ways that community-engaged learning can be particularly powerful with this student population

  • Offer examples of the integration of community-engaged learning and peer advocacy (from both grantees and other community colleges) into developmental education courses

  • Provide concrete ideas to get the creative juices going!

The Context

Higher education work with communities has evolved in different ways over time. A brief timeline provides a context of this evolution:

1985: Campus Compact founded

  • Goal to support civic and community engagement at higher education institutions

Early 1990s: Service-Learning

  • Focus on how to connect course content to work in communities with increasing evidence of the pedagogical value of service-learning

1999: Campus Compact Presidents’ Declaration on the Civic Responsibility of Higher


  • Move from pedagogical focus to greater emphasis on the goal of civic responsibility in community projects

2006: Community Engagement

  • Carnegie Foundation creates Classification on Community Engagement (2006) and defines Community Engagement as “the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.”

2012: Changing Context of Higher Education

  • Concern with how community engagement fits with the changing demographics and structures at colleges and universities

In the following section we will define the terms listed below in order to create shared language that can support consistent and clear communication within campuses and among the sub-grantees:

  • Community-engaged learning

  • Service

  • Service-learning

  • Co-curricular service programs

  • Integration & complementary engagement activities

  • Civic responsibility

  • Partnerships & reciprocity

  • Reflection

  • Assessment

  • Peer advocates & community-engaged learning

Community-Engaged Learning
For the Connect2Complete program, Community-Engaged Learning will serve as the broad term to include both curricular service-learning (for academic credit) and co-curricular service programs (non-credit programs). Community-Engaged Learning involves collaborating with a community in ways that meet local needs or interests while supporting student learning.
Service can be understood in a wide variety of ways. Students may engage in direct service such as working at a campus-based food pantry that serves students or they may use indirect service such as creating a brochure for an agency or learning about a community issue of interest to students and developing a plan to publicly educate stakeholders about the issue. The value of using direct or indirect service depends upon the content and desired structure of a course or the goals in a particular co-curricular program.
A course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students

  • Participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs, and

  • Reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility. (Bringle & Hatcher, 1995)

Campus Compact would ultimately like to see programs develop service-learning models; however, we recognize that this work requires faculty training and structures on campus that may not be in place for all of the sub-grantees. We seek to support C2C participants in creating the resources and timeline best suited for their unique situations.

Although both service-learning and co-curricular service programs (to be defined in the following section) fit under the broad definition of community-engaged learning for C2C, it is evident from discussions with C2C pilot programs at this early stage that the pedagogy of service-learning has advantages that support the success of developmental education students:

  • For students who may doubt the usefulness of a college education and the relevance of coursework to their lives, making connections to social justice issues outside the classroom as part of the curriculum can energize and re-engage students in the classroom.

  • Service-learning reaches students where they are – in the classroom! The more that C2C-related activities can be integrated into the course, the more successful the student and community outcomes will be as developmental education students with heavy work and family responsibilities typically have especially limited time for activities outside the classroom. This also makes unnecessary the labor-intensive process of recruiting C2C students.

  • Connecting community engagement to classroom outcomes and grades will increase participation for C2C students.

  • A model that recruits C2C students through enrollment in courses will reach students who might not otherwise seek out support and, therefore, are likely to be the students most in need of support.

  • A model where faculty is a central part of the peer advocacy and service-learning activities creates an opportunity for C2C students to develop a potentially stronger connection with a faculty member – a key to creating a college-staying culture.

  • Community-engaged learning with a co-curricular approach requires some level of support from external support services (though this may be minimized with the help of peer advocates) which incurs a cost. As a result, programs may not scale to a larger number of students because of this additional cost. When funds are directed up front to train developmental education faculty in service-learning and put systems in place to support them after the program is established, the costs are diminished. A similar program found that by “locating student learning and student support within the curriculum and classroom, the cost per student is significantly less than that of various models based on outside counseling and support services, while the intensity of support increases” (Navvaro, 2012).

Co-curricular Service Programs

Co-curricular service programs involve participation in an organized activity that meets identified community needs or interests and helps students gain an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.

These activities may emerge from student leaders including peer advocates, college clubs or other settings on campus, but they are not directly linked to a credit-bearing

course. Incorporating reflection before, during and after an activity helps students expand their learning about an experience and supports increased engagement on campus. Reflection approaches also lead to a more seamless integration of curricular and co-curricular learning for the entire college community.

Faculty who use service-learning document evidence of student learning in their courses but staff involved in co-curricular programs may not be required by the college to document the learning that occurs in these programs. However, such documentation may be beneficial for both staff and students. Demands for accountability are emerging from accreditation groups, national organizations, state education centers and local communities. As a result of these demands many colleges are implementing program reviews or task forces on assessment to insure that all departments on campus provide evidence that students have met the college’s student learning outcomes.  Documenting what students learn in co-curricular community settings may not be as simple as reporting student grades on a test, but it is critical for practitioners to consider different ways that learning in community settings can be made evident to others.  It is possible to obtain such information with minimal advance planning.

A co-curricular service project may involve students working at a prisoners’ rights organization. Organizers can ask students to write a short reflection about their expectations during the planning meeting or they can enlist a recorder to jot down these observations as students talk and travel together to the organization. The same recorder can capture comments during breaks at the organization and then review impressions on the final trip back to campus. Reviewing student comments from beginning, middle and end times of the project may reveal important themes about what was learned at the organization as well as practical information regarding ways to organize the project in the future.
Integration & Complementary Engagement Activities
An ideal goal for campuses would be discipline-based courses with strong service-learning pedagogy that are integrated seamlessly with complementary co-curricular service programs so that students experience community engagement as central in all of their campus encounters. In addition, when service-learning and co-curricular activities are integrated, community partners (or one community partner that works deeply across the campus) can understand and more easily navigate the full range of the community-engaged learning activities occurring on campus.
At Chandler-Gilbert Community College, club projects (service programs) can easily become course-related projects (service-learning) and both can become sites for compensated or uncompensated student leadership development (See more examples in The Community College’s Indicators of Engagement at Two-Year Institutions, Campus Compact, 2004).
Reaching such a goal is a process that will take time and emerge in different ways at different colleges.
Civic Responsibility

Regardless of the method used to integrate community-engaged learning into C2C programs, civic learning is an important outcome. The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) defines civic responsibility as “active participation in the public life of a community in an informed, committed, and constructive manner, with a focus on the common good” (Gottlieb & Robinson, 2006). The AACC’s Practical Guide for Integrating Civic Responsibility into the Curriculum contains excellent examples that can be adapted into courses or co-curricular settings and is available at:

Many colleges now have an institutional learning outcome focusing on civic responsibility and require more courses to include objectives that will meet this outcome. Faculty may need to add or revise objectives to include a civic component. Professors teaching courses in developmental writing might create objectives that align with civic knowledge or values while a professor teaching developmental math might consider addressing an objective aimed at developing the civic skill of problem solving.
Professor Higgins who teaches developmental math courses receives a request for volunteers to assist with a tree survey in a local community. He reflects on the topics of his course and creates assignments that apply some of these topics to the tree survey project. Students who participate in the tree survey learn basic math concepts, address a concrete concern in a nearby town, and reflect on the community partner’s presentation on the role that community groups have had - at times in opposition to local politicians - in greening the urban landscape. In this reflection activity, students learn about the power of community to create change – one of the civic learning outcomes.
A chart on purposeful civic learning in the Appendix suggests that professors consider how the content in a specific course might meet civic knowledge, civic skills or civic values.
Partnerships & Reciprocity

Most colleges have outreach programs and faculty, staff and students have a general idea about some of the college activities taking place in the community. Yet working with community partners in reciprocal partnerships involves envisioning a new model as Zlotkowski et al. (2004) note:

Civic and community engagement, we found, cannot simply be equated with successful outreach. True engagement assumes a fundamental shift in the way a college regards the community in which it is embedded. In this model, the college does not act unilaterally on matters affecting the community, however benign its intentions. Instead, it recognizes the community as its complementary equal, fully entitled to speak out on and to participate in all matters of common concern. (p. 72)

The key idea is that partners discuss the roles that each will play in a particular project and maintain feedback and dialogue as a project progresses. Such dialogue is also important when service is taking place on campus.
The student leaders of an immigrants’ rights program on campus have specific requirements regarding how outreach is conducted with this student population. Students or faculty organizing a service-learning project focused on developing outreach materials for the program will need to collaborate with these leaders in order to support the broader goals that leaders have envisioned for the work.
An important first step in designing a reflection activity involves reviewing course objectives or program goals to decide which ones fit best with work in the community. Often professors are already using activities in their courses that can be converted to a community setting with a minimum of effort.

Reflection provides an effective approach to capturing how student learning may change in a more multifaceted learning situation. Hatcher and Bringle (1997) suggest that:

Reflection activities engage students in the intentional consideration of their experiences in light of particular learning objectives, and provide an opportunity for students to:

  • Gain further understanding of course content and discipline

  • Gain further understanding of the service experience

  • Develop self-assessment skills as a life-long learner

  • Explore and clarify values that can lead to civic responsibility

Most faculty and staff reflect with students informally on a regular basis; the difference for more formal reflection is the “intentional” review of experiences “in light of particular learning objectives.” How does an activity expand the ways a student understands a topic or situation? A student in a psychology course reflected on her experiences working in a special education classroom in this way:

I realized that for this case, it wasn’t black and white, like in the book. The child I wrote about didn’t have the symptoms of one disorder. He had a few of many. But how could this be? If he doesn’t completely fit into one category, where does he go? This was a problem I thought about all semester.

This student’s dilemma shows the value of interacting in an authentic situation and her written reflection can serve as documentation that she is addressing the critical thinking outcome in the course.
In a Math Connections course, students met with staff at a nearby national park and used data on tourism and volunteerism to analyze information on topics such as recycling at events, tourism at a specific museum or participation in special festivals. The student summaries were then shared with staff at the park. The math professor used this project to meet the course objectives relating to data presentation and analysis. The student reflection centered on their interpretation of real data and helped to meet a broader objective of helping students gain a greater appreciation for their community and its history.
See more course examples of community college collaborations with national parks at

Traditional class assessments such as tests and papers provide specific data, but such measures may not reflect skills of the diverse students at a community college or the ambiguity present in most work settings. The following case study of Joanne and Mark took place a few years ago at a community college and illustrates the ongoing concerns with creating student assessments that are fair but still honor each student’s unique style of learning (Duffy, 2004).

Joanne and Mark were students in a psychology course and they spent two hours each week for eleven weeks at a therapeutic horseback riding farm assisting clients with a variety of diagnoses such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or autism. The students helped clients prepare horses for riding, assisted them as they rode horses, and then reviewed their progress for the day. The course assignment required students to connect their observations and reflections from the horse farm to course material in specific, detailed ways. Supervisors at the farm completed written evaluations of the students based on their ability to work with clients, contribution to the program, and general level of responsibility at the site.

The Dilemma: Joanne wrote a well-organized paper but received poor evaluations from the supervisor: “does not relate well to individuals, difficult to work with, has a negative attitude toward clients.” She did not contribute ideas to class discussions and often seemed annoyed about having to participate in collaborative group projects. Mark wrote a marginal paper yet received stunning comments from the supervisor: “incredible in connecting to clients, anticipates problems in the setting, would hire him tomorrow.” He shared observations from the horse farm in class and demonstrated strong critical thinking in reviewing various comments from his classmates. What to do? The marked disparity among the paper grades, class participation and the supervisor’s evaluation was problematic but reflects an ongoing assessment challenge involved in working in the community. How do you incorporate multifaceted aspects of a student’s work to create an accurate assessment?
Huba and Freed (2000) suggest that “an exemplary assessment task is one that involves college students in addressing enduring and emerging issues and problems that are ill-defined and of current relevance in their disciplines” (p.224). They further state that an exemplary assessment task demonstrates eight characteristics. It is:






respectful, and


The community-engaged approach demonstrates each of these characteristics, but it is especially effective in engaging and challenging students. There are few “right” answers in responding to community settings; students have to make inquiries, try multiple solutions and persevere.

The assessment dilemma of Joanne and Mark is a clear example of respectful and responsive characteristics. Huba and Freed (2000) define a respectful task as one that “allows students to reveal their uniqueness as learners” (p. 224). Joanne’s effective written communication and her more limited interpersonal and collaborative skills contrasted with Mark’s marginal writing proficiency and impressive critical thinking and interpersonal talent in work at the therapeutic riding farm.

The authentic setting was responsive to these students by giving them feedback that could lead to improvement. Mark’s success on the job may motivate him to develop better writing skills, while Joanne may begin to realize that writing well is only one component to being successful in work settings. A traditional classroom setting would acknowledge Joanne’s writing effectiveness but probably would not illuminate the mismatch with her interpersonal skills in an applied setting. Similarly, Mark’s sharing and critical thinking in discussions may have been noted informally but may not have been reflected in his course grade. Mark’s limited writing skills interfered with his ability to demonstrate the critical thinking in his paper that he showed in class discussions and may have been a source of discouragement and negative feelings. The service-learning assignment provided different ways to both assess and enhance each student’s unique approach to learning.
Peer Advocates & Community-Engaged Learning
Central to the C2C model is the work of mobilizing students to serve as advocates and leaders of community-engaged learning with their peers. All peer advocates (PAs) receive training on leading community-engaged learning activities. The PAs add valuable new perspectives to students, faculty and community members:

  • PAs can help to address the importance of retention for students as they show the relevance of course information at community sites.

  • PAs may connect more readily with C2C students in informal community settings than in the classroom, helping to build a foundation for a trusting relationship.

  • PAs can provide a realistic lens for faculty on how students experience the activities in various community situations.

  • PAs develop their own skills through communicating with community partners and may help partners to find new ways to collaborate with students.

Structures for Integrating PAs into Community-Engaged Learning
C2C programs may adopt any variety of structures through which peer advocates work with C2C students to support their community-engaged learning activities. See chart below for some examples.


PAs attend developmental education courses and work with faculty to take on leadership roles in facilitating service-learning in the context of the developmental education courses.

PAs and C2C students participate in the same service-learning opportunities that are woven into their respective leadership development and developmental education courses through integrated assignments. PAs support the coordination of the service-learning activities.

PAs and C2C students participate separately in service-learning as part of their respective leadership and developmental education courses. C2C students, with support from their instructor and PAs, participate in an additional community engagement experience.

Co-Curricular Service Program

With support from staff, PAs facilitate a co-curricular service program for C2C students. The service program is connected to the PAs course based service-learning program.

With support from staff, PAs facilitate a co-curricular service program for C2C students. The service program is organized with support from staff, but is not connected to the PAs course based service-learning program.

Staff working in conjunction with PAs implement a series of community engagement activities for all PA and C2C students. For example, these activities may include a speaker presentation and student discussion related to social justice followed by a community project and a social event.

There are a number of ways in which peer advocates can take leadership roles in facilitating community-engaged learning. Some examples:

  • Facilitate reflection

  • Co-facilitate with faculty workshops on the “isms”, oppression, diversity, power, privilege, root causes of community issues, etc.

  • Develop community partnerships

  • Organize orientations for C2C students to community partners

  • Train and supervise students in the community

  • Trouble-shoot for C2C students and with community partners

  • Organize logistics (calling students, organizing transportation)

  • Develop and implement co-curricular experiences

  • Act as liaison between faculty and community partners

  • Act as liaison between community service center and community partners

Community-engaged learning activities can also provide a powerful way to maintain connections between peer advocates and C2C students beyond the C2C students’ first semesters. For example, campuses can maintain structures for C2C students and PAs to continue to engage in co-curricular service activities that bring together newer and older cohorts of PAs and C2C students.

The C2C grant provides exciting new opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to collaborate on community-engaged learning activities. It allows different models to evolve based on the unique needs of each campus, so it gives participants the flexibility that is realistic and necessary for ongoing success. Yet even within each campus, it is important to have clear expectations that will be central to the work and will allow campus teams to collaborate effectively with each other and their community partners.

Checklist of Expectations for Community-Engaged Learning Activities

  • Reflection occurs before, during and after

  • Activities are connected to coursework/co-curricular program outcomes

  • Coursework/service programs incorporate civic learning outcomes

  • Learning is documented through writing, video, art, photography or other artifacts appropriate for a specific activity

  • Peer advocates receive training in order to take on leadership roles in facilitating community-engaged learning activities

Community-Engaged Learning: Bridging Multiple Missions in the Community College

The range of projects possible in community-engaged learning supports the diversity of learners at a community college while also addressing a community college’s multiple missions:

The fact that community-based work can address the needs of both more- and less-developed learners makes it invaluable as part of an institutional “bridge” strategy. As Bailey (2003, p. 4) notes, closing the opportunity gap and raising the bar of achievement will require “finding and exploiting complementarities” in community colleges’ multiple missions. By connecting academic study with meaningful service in the community, service-learning represents just such a complementarity. While service-learning helps students of various kinds develop academically, it also exposes them to experiences that can better inform their choice of majors or careers. While acquiring intellectual skills valued by their professors, they simultaneously learn skills and work habits highly valued by potential employers. Thus, the multiple responsibilities of the community college—preparation for work, for citizenship, and for academic transfer—can be addressed in a naturally balanced, interconnected manner. (Zlotkowski et al., 2004, p. 81)

Service-learning is an effective way to address a college’s multiple missions, but other approaches such as co-curricular service programs may also be avenues for engaging students and preparing them for work, engagement and academic transfer.
Community-Engaged Learning: Unearthing Student Assets
Community-engaged learning can assist in bridging the multiple missions at a community college, but it can also help to unearth student assets that are often not assessed in a traditional classroom setting. Students in developmental education courses often need added support to persevere; helping these students to find and use their unique assets may provide one valuable source of motivation. The previous discussion of Joanne and Mark highlights ways in which service-learning pedagogy draws on and values a range of learning styles and skills. In particular, developmental education students often bring a unique awareness and experience as they may come from vulnerable communities themselves. Students’ own lived experiences with inequities may put them at an advantage when engaging with the community and analyzing issues and community assets.

Community-Engaged Learning: Making the Learning Relevant

For students who are tentative about being in college or who are questioning the relevance of math or writing courses, having a link to the community may help to broaden their perspectives and give them concrete examples of how math and writing are useful in a range of settings. Service-learning aims to create a more “permeable” classroom—a place where “knowledge generated within it is extended beyond its boundaries” and into which “outside knowledge is assimilated” (Sandy, 1998). Service-learning accomplishes this by bringing experiences from the community to the classroom and information from the course back to the community.

How will inviting the community into a classroom change a student’s learning experience? The impact will vary with each situation, but it is likely that having more specific links in the community will help students to see the relevance and applicability of the concepts they are studying.

Broadening the Definition of “Community”
In a recent article Scobey (2012) lists several ways that the academy has changed over the past twenty years and asks how education for democracy may need to be revised to adjust to these changes:
What does democratically engaged learning look like, and how can we foster it for an academy in which the majority of students will attend more than one institution, carry significant debt, and have the challenge of their employment paramount in their educational choices? What does public work look like for students who need constantly and strategically to blend family responsibilities, work pressures, and study in schedules with little time for large, chunky projects—students whose social geography conforms less and less to the in-here/out-there map of our partnership models? (Scobey, 2012, p. 5)

The concerns of financial demands, family responsibilities, work pressures and limited time are common for students, particularly developmental education students at community colleges. The typical in-here/out-there map of partnership models does not apply for these students. Zlotkowski writes, “The community college can itself be viewed as a community-based organization: It is of, not simply in, a particular place” (Zlotkowski et al., 2004, p. 79).

In other words, one does not need to leave the campus to encounter vulnerable populations and systemic inequality the way much of the service-learning literature assumes. Food banks are popping up on campuses and the impacts of inequality such as cuts to Pell grants, for example, can be felt on campus. To illustrate just how dire the situation, Wick Sloane, a professor of English at Bunker Hill Community College writing for Inside Higher Ed (2012) proposes paying students to study–students who would otherwise need to choose between study and earning money to eat. Sloan writes, “I’ve helped more students with food stamps this year than with College Writing I.”

This is not to suggest that community partnership strategies for engaged learning should be abandoned, but rather that we can expand our understanding of the community.
Connecting students with a garden on campus growing food for the campus food bank that provides fresh produce to students benefits the campus and broader community.
Just as the campus is a “community,” so too can student interests be synonymous with community needs. Although the service-learning literature suggests the need must arise from the community defined as an entity apart from the students, particularly in the case of community colleges and with developmental students, a student can give voice to the community need. Students, therefore, may choose to initiate a project based on a need that they have identified.
Students may research the impacts of government policies that cut food stamps for students taking more than 6 college credits – a real situation in Ohio. They may then decide to create an educational presentation to be shared with a local advocacy organization so that both the students on campus and the broader community benefit.
This provides an exciting opportunity to empower C2C students and peer advocates to draw on their experiences to initiate community-engaged learning projects that will benefit the campus and broader community.


At this year’s National Association for Developmental Education Conference, the keynote speaker from the Gates Foundation remarked on the spotlight being shone on the field of developmental education. She applauded, “Finally faculty are being acknowledged for the important work they’ve done year after year.” President Obama’s Completion Agenda, deep commitments from the Gates Foundation and studies in developmental education at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching are just a few examples of the widespread interest in developmental education emerging across the country.

This new and broad recognition of the important role developmental education faculty play in introducing students to college life cannot be overemphasized when nationally 60% of incoming community college students are referred to one or more developmental education courses. Developmental education faculty are often the first people on campus who interact with students; the quality of this initial connection can be key to a student’s ongoing engagement at the college.
As presented in this manual, with a changing student population comes a need to re-define what we mean by “community” when considering definitions of community-engaged learning. More and more student interests may be synonymous with community needs. This provides an exciting new opportunity to empower C2C students and peer advocates to draw on their life experiences to initiate community-engaged learning projects. Developmental education students often bring to this work a unique and valuable understanding of social problems and community assets. In a similar way, developmental education faculty are on the front lines of the college experience and they have unique insights and perspectives about incoming students that can help inform and educate others on campus. Peer advocates may perform an important new role by serving as cultural brokers who help to translate needs and interests of students, faculty and local community members in innovative ways that transform the meaning and value of community for each college campus.
In the spirit of supporting reciprocal partnerships, we offer this manual to articulate common language and expectations and to invite the contribution of many voices. The present manual serves as a jumping off point that will evolve as the work deepens. New models, additional examples, and further research will keep this a living document.

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EXAMPLES FROM THE FIELD – Edmonds Community College
Title of Course: English 100, “Introduction to College Writing”

Faculty Name: Daniel Griesbach

Students’ learning in English 100, “Introduction to College Writing,” is enhanced through the integration of service, peer mentoring, community engagement, and learning community. These four elements are not “extras” for the course, but rather they are integral parts of the writing process and the student’s experience of him- or herself as a developing academic writer.


42 (2 sections) winter quarter 2012; 17 spring quarter 2012

Service Component

  • Direct or Indirect Service: Mix of indirect and direct service

  • Infused in class or one-time project: Infused as the basis for two of the three major essay assignments in the class.

  • Hours required, if applicable:

Outside of class time: participating in one sponsored project (2-4 hours), one community engagement field trip (3-6 hours), one community event (1-2 hours), optional extra consultation with a Green Team mentor (~0.5 hours)

Describe the community engagement experience and its integration into course outcomes & activities.

Service Memoir Essay

Students write a paper on a service experience, learning to narrate their experience through the genre of “memoir.” In writing about their service this way, they learn to introduce a topic by setting the scene in rich detail, to describe, evaluate, and resolve what they would consider a point of “complication” in their experience (for example, their feelings about service before and after, or their knowledge about the community need before and after), and to conclude with the lesson learned. This assignment extends the reflection component of academic service-learning to the essay form and the writing process.

Proposal Essay for Campus Sustainability

In this essay, students propose an idea for improving sustainability on campus, basing their idea on concepts gleaned from a sustainability-themed field trip. When possible,

the field trips include a service component as part of the learning. Students’ writing meets a real campus need, namely providing student-generated input to the campus Green Team (student sustainability advocates) for student-led sustainability projects. Thus, English 100 students not only have the opportunity to serve through a service activity accompanying the field trip, but also through their own writing.

This paper requires extensive preparation involving community engagement and peer networking. On the field trip, students engage with sustainable business leaders in their local community. They then network with the Green Team members and advanced students in the Anthropology LEAF School. In small groups, they collaborate with fellow students from Anthropology 100 “Introduction to Anthropology” on an electronic poster presentation about the sustainable business they visited.

Describe assets developmental education students brought to the work/explanation of reasons this worked well with developmental education students.

By integrating their writing assignments with service, community engagement activities, and mentoring relationships, students find their writing voices and find that their writing matters. Despite the complexity of committing to organized activities outside of class time, when many students have family, work, school schedules, developmental education students prove refreshingly open to the possibilities and advantages it will bring them.

Integrating service, mentoring, and community engagement into a writing class makes transparent two very difficult concepts to teach: purpose (sensing what change your writing is effecting and why) and audience (making decisions based on the intended reader). Students in English 100, “Introduction to College Writing” learn that their writing needs to adapt to multiple complex situations. They need to learn to make good judgments in these varying situations, especially when they are asked to extend beyond forms and formats they’ve learned in the past, such as the 5-paragraph essay, or never (or always) using the first person “I.” Instead of learning these lessons in the abstract, they learn them through the immersive service-community-mentoring relationships that are formed in the course. Above all, they gain the feeling of confidence and sense of community that is going to sustain them as they write and act in future academic, career, and civic pursuits.

List any adjustments made for working with developmental education students.

I’m especially cognizant that students come into our writing courses with widely differing kinds of preparation. They are often uncertain about their abilities to meet the challenges this class will pose. It is critical to respect students’ courage to take college classes and to build an atmosphere of trust and support.

Describe any role that peer advocates had in facilitating or leading service-learning activities including reflection.

Students in advanced roles (Green Team members and advanced Anthropology LEAF school students) facilitate discussion circles in an activity that allows students to connect the field trip to both the poster integrated assignment and the proposal essay.

What worked well?

It was my experience that the peer advocacy relationships brought much more than information shared from one student to another. They brought excitement about the writing project and, above all, confidence. Students could see that their ideas for campus sustainability were feasible, interesting, and had a peer audience. In this sense, the peer advocates were like a “third party” validation of the student writers’ ideas: this was not just a writing assignment for the sake of mastering certain composition skills (though it was that, too): students realize that these skills are meant to be used for something, that they have real, practical value.

Students were also genuinely inspired by the community leaders and felt connected to their concerns. Accordingly, they took ownership of the topics they were reading and writing about.

What was the most challenging?

Winter quarter 2012 was the first quarter I incorporated mentoring as a part of the curriculum in my writing class, and the most challenging aspect proved to be establishing shared accountability in the mentoring relationship. I required one meeting outside of class time with a Green Team member (peer advocate) to take place within a specific time frame early in the writing process. A few students did not schedule their meeting sufficiently early on in the process and a few others wanted too much of their mentors (asking questions better suited for a reference librarian or even an internet search, for example). Peer advocates were overly accommodating with their limited time as student workers. To remedy this, I met with the Green Team student mentors and developed a plan for establishing more structure to the advocacy and articulating limits on the role the peer advocates take.

What will you do differently next time?

To address the difficulty mentioned above, we developed a plan for spring quarter 2012 that consisted of small group mentoring as the main form of required peer advocacy, with the possibility of optional individual consultations as follow-ups. This idea, which originated with the peer advocates themselves should present less of a time burden for the peer advocates.


“The essay that was written on sustainability in Professor Griesbach’s English 100 class during winter quarter 2012 provided intrinsic attachment for me. Because the purpose of the paper was to impact and change my local environment as well as receiving a grade, it provided a greater and more meaningful learning experience. Because this assignment involved real life situations and the possibility to bring about positive changes, it instilled within me an enthusiasm to write and it propelled me to write at a higher level.   

“Being involved with the local community and going on field trips to do research brought the writing process into a situation that felt more life-like. Moving out of the classroom setting and doing this research helped me as a writer to become attached to the subject of the paper and to understand the needs and benefits of sustainability more thoroughly. Doing this type of field research helps students to learn how to write papers for other types of college research and for research that is implemented in the work place. 

“In my opinion, writing this type of essay was a benefit to my college education and I believe most students would also benefit from this type of assignment.” -- Leeandrea Campbell (winter 2012)


Fogarty, Julia et al. Learning Communities in Community Colleges. Olympia, WA: Washington Center for Improving the Quality of Undergraduate Education, 2003. Print.

Murphy, Tom. “Anthropology 101: How to Change the World.” Yes! Magazine. Positive Futures Network. 30 Jun. 2009. Web. 3 May 2012.

Essay Assignment: A Service Memoir


At Edmonds Community College, our Center for Service Learning gives students the opportunity to serve the community and learn while they do so. Service at our school means meeting a real world need, connecting action to academic learning, and reflecting on the service one completes.


Write an essay (4 pages, double spaced) in the memoir genre of a single academic service experience at Edmonds Community College. Follow Writing Today’s model of a memoir by describing, evaluating, and resolving a complication that you think existed in your service experience.

Elaboration of the prompt

“Memoir” is essentially the word for “memory,” and this essay will be a memory of your service. As Chapter 4 of Writing Today makes clear, though, a memoir is not simply a list of one’s perceptions as he or she recalls them. Rather, a memoir is an organized presentation that develops a central idea of “complication” (conflict or tension). In drafting your own memoir, you’ll hunt out the conflict that you resolved, if it’s not already obvious, and develop it in your writing. Your “complication” might, for instance, have to do with how you processed your service activity in your own mind: how did your ideas or feelings change before, during, and after your service event? This could address either your idea of what “service” means in general, your knowledge of the specific kind of service you were doing, or your feelings toward the activity you were doing and the problem it was addressing. Alternatively, you might find that your “complication” emerged in the activity itself or among the participants as they worked to complete a new task, taking on new roles in a complex interpersonal environment.

You can image your audience being faculty or administrators who are interested in knowing about students’ experiences with service or other students who haven’t tried service learning yet, but who are wondering what they can get out of it.

Service Requirement

The service experience must be from the EdCC Center for Service Learning Sponsored Project list (distributed on the course blackboard and by email) and must be completed before __________. You are responsible for choosing a service event and taking the steps to enroll and attend.

Prewriting (Complete the following activities and turn in with your final version)

Prewriting 1: Journaling Your Experience

After your service event, write freely in a journal for 15+ minutes. As the Writing Today textbook advises, freewriting involves writing “anything that comes into your mind. Don’t worry about making real sentences or paragraphs. If you find yourself running out of words, try finishing phrases like ‘What I mean is . . .’ or ‘Here’s my point. . . .’” (330). If you have trouble getting started, try picking something small. When you’re completed, go through your text and mark (underline or highlight) your best ideas, ones you might want to include or focus on for your paper.
You can staple your pages to this assignment or, if it’s in a bound journal, make a photocopy.

Prewriting 2: Mapping, Storyboarding, Podcasting, or Role Playing.

Choose one of the forms of inquiring listed on page 40 of Writing Today: mapping, storyboarding, podcast/video, or role playing. Use this second form of inquiry to explore one or more of the ideas you identified by highlighting or underlining from your Inquiry #1, above.

You can staple your pages to this assignment or, if it’s a podcast/video, email me the file or link.

Prewriting 3: Researching

Read the directions for researching online, print, and empirical sources and determine one other source that can help your paper. Perhaps it’s a piece of information related to the kind of service you performed, the area you performed it in, or the social/ environmental issue the service addresses. Include in your paper a parenthetical citation (pages 492-495 in Writing Today) and a works cited list in MLA style (494-508 in Writing Today).
Answer the following questions about your research source:
--Is it an online, print, or empirical source?
--What kind of source does it match on pages 499-508?
--What is the source going to add to your essay?

Choosing an Appropriate Style (once you have a draft started)

Read pages 44-5 of Writing Today and, in the space below, draft a concept map that helps you determine a tone. Follow the example on page 45 in the way it attaches feelings to the details that are emerging from the draft: “My Twelfth year” is connected to the feeling of “relaxing,” and “scary” is related to the feeling of “kid man.” Find at least six details and connected feelings in your map.


On pages 42-44, the textbook gives questions to help shape your memoir into the following parts (paragraph numbers are given by me just as suggestions, but can be varied if needed).

Setting the Scene in Rich Detail (Introduction): 1-2 paragraphs

Describing the Complication (1-2 paragraphs)
Evaluating the Complication (1-2 paragraphs)
Resolving the Complication (1-2 paragraphs)
Concluding with a Point (1-2 paragraphs)


I am asking for this paper to be printed and use MLA formatting. However, if you have a great photo of your service, you are welcome to include that. Just make sure you adjust for correct page length! =]

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