The Office of Engagement Initiatives (OEI) recently awarded Engaged Curriculum Grants to 19 teams of faculty and community partners that are developing community-engaged learning courses, majors and minors across the university.
This year’s funded projects involve 52 Cornell faculty and staff from 36 departments and 11 schools and colleges. Community partners come from seven countries; 14 projects are based in New York state.
“OEI’s main objective is to make high-quality community-engaged learning accessible to every Cornell undergraduate student,” said Anna Sims Bartel, associate director of community-engaged curricula and practice in OEI. “A great way to expand that reach is by increasing the opportunities students have to engage with communities as part of their academic studies. We’re excited to work with this year’s grantees as they plan and develop new curricula and continue to refine what they already offer.”
Cornell currently has more than 270 unique and cross-listed community-engaged learning courses, and 84 majors have a community-engaged learning option. Since launching in 2015, OEI’s grant programs have helped increase community-engaged learning curricular options by 74%, and undergraduate enrollment in these courses has increased 93%.
OEI and grantees are committed to making these community-engaged learning opportunities available over the long term. Grant applications require that teams have a sustainability plan beyond the terms of the funding.
“Community-engaged learning is often a life-changing experience for students, as they develop a greater sense of agency and experience in taking action to address issues of public concern,” Bartel said. “We want that to be a hallmark of the Cornell education – not for two years or even 10 years, but for generations for come.”
Funded 2020-21 Engaged Curriculum Grant projects:
- Bootleg Balloons: Broadening community participation and STEM learning with DIY weather balloons.
- An Endangered and Indigenous Language Curriculum: Preserving, teaching and documenting endangered and indigenous languages in New York state.
- Engaged Learning Curriculum in Global Development: Designing a community-engaged curriculum for Cornell’s new Department of Global Development
- Equitable eEngagement: Developing a strategy for high-quality online university-community engagement.
- Expanding PRYDE Scholars Program Research: Activating 4-H youth participants in PRYDE (Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement) Scholars’ research (renewal).
- Exploring Science Aboard the Physics Bus: Researching, designing and testing new hands-on physics exhibits that engage the public (renewal).
- Grand Challenges @Dyson: Cultivating socially responsible business leaders prepared to solve local and global development challenges.
- International Human Rights and the Death Penalty: Creating an undergraduate minor and seminar course on human rights and the death penalty.
- An Introduction to the Internet of Things: Designing Cornell’s first introductory course on the Internet of Things (IoT): Technology and Engagement.
- Learning Through Advocacy: Mobilizing students to combat the consequences of unemployment in the community through legal advocacy (renewal).
- Moral Psychology Minor: Developing a new moral psychology minor featuring community-engaged learning opportunities.
- Peace Building in Conflict Regions: Engaging with reconciliation and development efforts in Israel and the Palestinian territories, and sub-Saharan Africa (renewal).
- Public History Minor: Developing and modifying courses for a new minor in public history.
- Remaking the City: Introducing information science students to the technological challenges faced by community organizations in New York City. (renewal).
- Restoring Joint Function: Demonstrating how biomaterials scientists, engineers and orthopedic surgeons can partner to improve patient outcomes.
- Seed to Supper: Addressing hunger and food security issues directly through student-supported community gardening advocacy.
- Sustainable Development and Community Participation in Ecuador: Building a new interdisciplinary summer program for undergraduates.
- Taking America’s Pulse: Teaching students advanced survey methods and analysis through a national opinion poll (renewal).
- Writing and Community-Engaged Learning: Introducing community-engaged learning to the university writing curriculum.
Ashlee McGandy is content strategist in the Office of Engagement Initiatives.