SUMMER 2021:

If you are interested in taking a summer course, consider NEW495: Independent Community Engaged Learning where we discuss social justice, non-profits, charities and what the literature calls ‘social purpose’ work. Some questions we will engage together: Are you interested in the relationship between social movements and community work? Where does the university stand in relation to ‘community?’ How do marginalized communities deploy research to make social change? In this course, which will be delivered virtually, we will discuss how community work has drastically shifted during COVID and we’ll focus on collectives in and around Toronto that focus on Black, racialized and Indigenous communities. In this course, students will develop an in-depth understanding of community work while developing critical research skills. Additionally, students will have the chance to engage in self-led community based research projects and will be exposed to an array of guest speakers from community workers who are doing critical and important work in the GTA. If you are interested in enrolling and would like to hear more, write to Sam Tecle at by May 14th. Since this course is a seminar, spots are limited.


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

Placement information will be available shortly – Please come visit this page soon to check the drop-down menu on the left under NEW495Y and NEW497Y for all available placements.

Write to 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 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 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 Independent Community Engaged Learning Seminar (blended with NEW497 for the 2020-21 academic year)  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 (not offered this year) 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?

Soon the links in the left margin will be updated with information about the current offering of placement positions. 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 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]


20 Willcocks St (Wilson Hall), Room 2017