New College’s Community Engaged Learning (CEL) Program promotes and supports community–engaged and experiential learning informed by social justice values within New College courses.

The program offers two community engaged learning placement-based courses for students who are:

  • keen to explore the social purpose implications and applications of academic knowledge in community and social justice settings outside the classroom;
  • looking to gain experience in the social sector by working for and with organizations variously involved in front-line service provision, community-based research, social justice advocacy, arts-based community building and social enterprise;
  • excited to contribute meaningfully to the work of a nonprofit or social enterprise or to a campus-based social-justice initiative;
  • wanting to clarify personal values and deepen appreciation of what it means to be an active, engaged citizen; and
  • ready to explore a more challenging engaged and reflective way of learning, both in ‘the field’ and in our seminars.

NEW270H Foundations in Community Engagement is a recommended preparation for participation in both NEW495Y and NEW497Y.

Independent Community Engaged Learning Seminar NEW495Y

An internship or immersion experience with a community organization or social justice initiative along with a seminar designed to: create opportunities to reflect critically on and learn from your experience, promote the integration of experiential learning with academic knowledge;  encourage collective exploration of the social justice and ethical issues arising in community-engaged work; and facilitate peer-learning, professional and personal development.   For more information about the course, placements and application process go to the course link.

Independent Community Engaged Research NEW497Y

A research-focused placement to contribute to the work of a community organization undertaking research, along with  a seminar designed to: extend appreciation of the meaning and importance of   community-based research; support the development of research skills; encourage collective exploration of the social justice and ethical issues arising in community-engaged work; and facilitate peer-learning, professional and personal development. For more information about the course, placements and application process go to the course link.

How it works: 

If you are interested in either of the two courses, you apply to the positions that most interest you.  If you are successful and receive a placement position,  you will be enrolled in the course by the program coordinator.

NOTE:  If there is a field of work or an organization where you would ideally like a placement, please contact the CEL Program Coordinator any time from June 2017, to discuss this possibility.

You commit to working an average of 6-8 hours per week for your placement, and participate in the seminar which meets each week for 2-3 hours for the first part of the course and then every other weeks. There are regular writing assignments (reflection paper, blogs) and workshops through which you both extend, deepen and demonstrate your learning.  There are opportunities to learn about and from the experiences of your peers as well as from invited speakers and course-related workshops.  At the end of the course, you will make a presentation in a symposium, highlighting your learning and achievements.

Who can apply to these  “community engaged” academic courses?

  • Students from New College or any other college entering their third or final year may apply to the positions offered by community partner organizations or on-campus social purpose initiatives.
  • You may apply to as many of the advertised placements in either course as you feel qualified for and that interest you.
  • You may choose to apply to a position that clearly relates to your academic program, but you can also apply for a position in an organization whose work might lie outside your academics but which excites your passionate or interest.
  • Only students who are offered and accept positions after interviews with the host organization will be enrolled in the courses.
  • Grades are taken into consideration in students’ applications, but are not the most important criteria for acceptance into the course. More important is a commitment to social justice and active critical citizenship, volunteering and community engagement; a desire to explore engaged forms of learning and scholarship; and an interest in the social service, non-profit or community development sector as potential sites of paid or unpaid/volunteer work.
  • Successful candidates are self-motivated, mature and responsible, able to take initiative and work independently. They are eager to learn and contribute to the work, and keen to develop skills in critical reflection. Good communication skills, interpersonal and cultural competency, and information literacy are important in most positions.
  •  If you want the course to count toward your program of study’s degree requirements, you will need to attain the consent of your academic advisor. The course might count as a breadth requirement.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please get in touch with


What is Community Engaged Learning?

Testimony from students who have taken NEW495. Filmed at the Community Engaged Learning Symposium 2015, videography by Scott James Baker. Featuring keynote speaker Sara Carpenter.
[Read Sara’s full talk, “Creative Disruptions: Critical Opportunities in Community Engaged Learning]


Other New College Community Engaged Learning Courses?

The following courses below combine classroom learning with community experience. Enrollment in these courses is through ROSI in the usual way:

The CEL program encourages and rewards different ways of learning and different kinds of knowledge production. It promotes the development of a range of skills and competencies crucial for graduates in the 21st century. CEL invites you to stretch yourself into unfamiliar spaces of learning and get engaged.
20 Willcocks St (Wilson Hall), Room 2017