UPDATES AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION about Community Engaged Learning courses for Fall/Winter 2021-22: 

Please note that NEW497 has been cancelled this year. It will be offered at a later date. Stay tuned for more details.

Write to nc.engagedlearning@utoronto.ca if you would like more information or have questions not addressed below.

  • If you are interested in working in a particular area – e.g. with youth, or community arts, community health – please contact nc.engagedlearning@utoronto.ca as soon as possible. If there is sufficient time, we might be able to arrange placements in your area of interest.
  • There is no direct enrollment in these courses. You must (A) apply to the positions you are interested in and, if successful, the hosting organization will offer you a placement. You will then be enrolled directly by the CEL administration or (B) contact the CEL coordinator at nc.engagedlearning@utoronto.ca to express interest in joining the program. You will be assessed by the CEL coordinator, enrolled in the course and matched with a partner organization afterwards.
  • Due to exceptional circumstances, this year CEL is offering different options for students to participate in the program: (A) Students may secure a placement (potentially a virtual placement) and participate in the program in the traditional manner or (B) Students may choose to do a community research project in collaboration with a community organization, and will be invited to speak on their project during the Spring Symposium.
  • In order to offer students a robust experience in community engagement, we will be inviting guests from partner organizations to speak in class about their work and community involvement.
  • Thank you for your patience in this process. We are working with the summer schedules of our partner organizations and sometimes things come together just before the start of term.

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 committed to working for social justice and are looking for meaningful, practical or research experience that makes a contribution to the social service or community sector.  Both courses involve reflective learning and creative assignments, and offer opportunities to learn from the experiences of others in the class, to  integrate your academic knowledge with experiences outside the classroom,  to challenge yourself, and explore your values and future directions.


  • NEW495Y: Community Engaged Learning: Critical and Creative Perspectives on the Non-Profit Sector – this course focuses on the non-profit sector as a whole, its historical development and its underlying philosophical assumptions and their contemporary arrangements. Health orders permitting, NEW495 will offer an updated set of placements that range from larger, more established community organizations to smaller more grassroots collectives. Students are offered the opportunity to learn about how these organizations are attempting to solve – as best they can and with what resources are available to them – the social problems that occupy our daily lives.


(Please note that NEW497 has been cancelled this year. It will be offered at a later date. Stay tuned for more details)

  • NEW497Y: Critical and Creative Perspectives on Community Based Research (CBR): An Advanced Seminar – a course for students interested in more research intensive placements. This upper year seminar will focus on the process, use of, and power and limitations of research. In NEW497, students will engage in research activities during their placements and in the seminar we will focus on how Black, racialized and Indigenous communities make use of research as not only resistance but also as ceremony.


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?

Soon the links in the left margin will be updated with more information about the current offering of placement positions. If you are interested in a particular organization or social service not listed here, contact nc.engagedlearning@utoronto.ca to find out whether a position might be organized.

How to apply?

  • Review the placement positions posted on the website.  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 and placements see adjacent menus.

Testimony from students who tool NEW495 in 2014-15. 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]


Contact:  nc.engagedlearning@utoronto.ca
20 Willcocks St (Wilson Hall), Room 2017