Please check back on this site in mid-June when some placement positions will be open for application.

New College’s Community Engaged Learning (CEL) Program promotes and supports  community–engaged  learning, research and practice in New College courses. 

The Program offers two interdisciplinary placement-based, full-year credit courses for upper-level undergraduate students who are looking for meaningful, practical experience  in the social service or community sector.  Both courses involve reflective and creative assignments with lots of opportunities to learn from the experiences of others in the class, to  make connections with your academic knowledge and experiences outside the classroom,  to challenge yourself and reflect on your values and future directions.

  • NEW495Y Independent Community Engaged Learning Seminar offers the opportunity of contributing to the work of a community organization or social justice initiative while engaging in practice and gaining professional skills, learning more about the specific social issues addressed and their broader context, and reflecting on challenges and ethical dilemmas in social change work.
  • NEW497Y Independent Community Engaged Research offers the opportunity of deepening an understanding of – and gaining skills and experience in – research that serves the needs of community organizations. The seminar covers a range of research methods and methodologies (participatory, quantitative, qualitative and arts-based) along with considerations of the ethics of community-based research. Projects will vary according to the placement.

NEW270H Foundations in Community Engagement is recommended (but not necessary) as preparation for participation in both NEW495Y and NEW497Y.

What’s involved?

Students in the program work for 5-7 hours per week  for and with a nonprofit organization or social enterprise that is doing front-line service provision, community-based research, community development, social justice advocacy, arts-based community building or educational work.

Students participate in a weekly seminar where you will share experiences and learn from peers, deepen understanding of the social purpose sector, develop professional skills, and reflect collectively and critically on the social justice issues and questions that arise from your experience.

Who might be interested in this program?

Students entering their 3rd or 4th year, from any college, program, or discipline  who are:

  • keen to explore the social purpose implications and applications of academic knowledge outside the classroom,  in community and social justice settings;
  • wanting to understand different ways in which social problems are currently being addressed and to think – along with others – about how social change happens;
  • excited to  contribute meaningfully to the work of a nonprofit organization, social enterprise, or campus-based social-justice initiative by supporting program activities or undertaking research;
  • wanting to explore what it means to be an active, engaged citizen in these times; and
  • ready to engage in self-challenging, reflective learning, where you will be the director of your own learning process.

What placements are available?

See link on the left margin for information about the current offering of placement positions for each of the courses. If you are interested in a particular organization or social service not listed here, contact to find out whether a position might be organized.

How to apply?

  • Review the placement positions that will be posted on this website from mid-June (2019) through mid-August.  You may apply to as many of the positions as interest you. There will be different deadlines for the positions which will be indicated.
  • You will need to submit a letter of application, your resume, and Acorn academic history.
  • Applications are reviewed firstly by the CEL Program Coordinator then forwarded (without the academic history) to the host organization. They select candidates to interview and offer the position(s) to the candidate(s) they assess as being most suitable.
  • You do not enroll directly in the courses. This is done by the program coordinator once you have accepted the offer.
  • 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.
  • Grades are not the most important criteria for acceptance into the program.  More important is an interest in social justice and a desire – potentially – to pursue work in the social service, non-profit or community sector.
  • For information about available placements and  further details about the application procedures follow the links on the left margin menu.

For more information about the course, placements and application process go to the course link or contact

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]

20 Willcocks St (Wilson Hall), Room 2017