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To align with the CSUs systemwide understanding of Community Engaged Learning (CEL) courses, the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement has re-developed the course attribute processes to better support faculty efforts, understand student learning, and community impact. 

The Purpose & Benefits of Community Engagement Learning

For over 20 years, community-engaged learning (CEL) has contributed to high-quality student learning across the CSU and currently, CEL directly advances the CSU’s long-term goals of eliminating equity gaps for students.

In alignment with Graduation Initiative 2025, the Chancellor’s Office charged the CSU Center for Community Engagement (COCCE) to lead an effort (the Community-Engaged Learning Initiative) to improve data collection and identify the spectrum of community-engaged learning courses taking place across the CSU.  As a result, the Chancellor's Office has instituted two common systemwide “attributes” for community-engaged learning courses. This CEL Initiative is possible due to systemwide collaboration and financial support from California’s Call to Service (CCS) initiative. 

As part of this effort, the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement is working towards institutionalizing the faculty survey (Community Engagement Learning Attribute Tool - CELT) so that courses are periodically reviewed to ensure the attribute is relevant based on the student learning experience and partnerships happening within the course at the time of review. Our goal is to have this survey completed for 100% of unique CE/SL courses by May 2025.

    CELT Announcement
    CELT Survey Icon

    Community Engaged Learning Tool (CELT)

    Once you have reviewed the CEL Essential Elements Taxonomy, begin taking the CELT for your course!

    View: CELT Questions (PDF)

    CEL Interactive Roadmap icon

    Department Guide for Community Engaged Attribute

    This document is a resource for departments and faculty on moving a course through Course Leaf

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    Community Engaged Learning Essential Elements

    Click the link below to view the Community Engaged Learning Essential Elements Interactive Roadmap 

    CELT Video Tutorial Icon

    How to Complete the CELT Tutorial

    Brought to you by the CSU Center for Community Engagement 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Academic Senate Policy #S22-224, Designation Policy for Community Service Learning Courses

    Current (supersedes Policy # S03-224) Senate Approval: 5/03/2022 [Presidential Approval: 5/06/22]


    This policy seeks to provide definitions and policy, in accordance with guidance from the Chancellor’s Office, on the process for designating various types of community service or community-engaged courses.


    As part of the Chancellor’s Office (CO) 2018-19 California’s Call to Service Initiative, the CO identified an accountability goal to strengthen system-wide data collection infrastructure around community-engaged courses (as defined by the Chancellor's Office Center for Community Engagement). The purpose is to improve data collection to better support faculty and understand student learning, faculty efforts, and community impact. All campuses must implement two system-wide course attributes (community service learning and community-engaged learning) in the course management system to effectively identify and track these types of courses. Campuses are also required to distinguish service learning, as a distinct pedagogy, from community-engaged learning, which can include a variety of community-based learning experiences. A working group consisting of representatives from the Chancellor’s Office, CSU campuses, and the CSU Academic Senate developed the tools and resources needed for this initiative. The Institute for Civic and Community Engagement (ICCE) is overseeing this effort for San Francisco State University, including the dissemination, tracking, assessment, and reporting of the survey and survey data.

    Community service learning (CSL) and community-engaged learning (CEL) include a range of high-impact pedagogical practices that enhance students’ learning and foster civic understanding through active course-based learning that involves meaningful collaboration with community partners. The academic study may be in any discipline or combination of fields. Student learning outcomes benefit the common good, whether through direct service to communities in need or the organizations that serve them or through indirect service projects that contribute to community capacity building more broadly. CSL and CEL enhance academic learning by allowing students to make connections between their classroom education and its application to the field. These high-impact learning experiences help students to clarify their career goals and acquire work-related skills, develop a heightened sense of civic responsibility and awareness of moral and ethical issues, and provide them with a wide variety of work options with the goal of being value-added for the community they serve. Working from a common understanding will further the university’s identity as an “engaged institution,” contribute to quality transparent learning experiences for students, and offer opportunities for faculty dialogue and scholarship within and across disciplines.

     Academic Senate Policy: Course Designation

    The attributes are applied in the student information system and based on a CEL Tool (CELT) that asks faculty about their teaching and community partnershipii practices. The CELT is based on a course taxonomy for community- engaged learning which outlines the essential elements of these types of courses within a spectrum of implementation practices. Faculty complete a separate CELT for each course and the attribute is applied based on the faculty member’s responses. 


    Faculty will need to complete a separate CELT for each CEL course they teach and should be completed at a minimum of every five years, but it may also be completed anytime there is a significant course change (i.e., a new CEL course developed, significant revisions to the CEL course or change in faculty member teaching the CEL course). 

    Faculty members who complete the CELT will receive a Confirmation Email with your designated CEL attribute (either CCEL or CSLI). If more information is needed, ICCE will follow up with you. 

    For course that are currently listed as CSL, ICCE recommends faculty still take the CELT Survey and edit the designated community engagement course attribute if needed.

    We acknowledge our faculty who have committed to teaching community-engaged learning courses and greatly appreciate current CSL faculty for completing the CELT tool. It is our intention to use the CELT results to enhance our services to provide faculty with resources to support community-based teaching and strengthen community partnerships. Furthermore, working from a common understanding will further the university’s identity as an “engaged institution,” contribute to quality transparent learning experiences for students, and offer opportunities for faculty dialogue and scholarship within and across disciplines. 

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