SUNY Buffalo State College has a long history of enriching the lives of others through community-engaged teaching, research, and service. The campus community draws on its shared traits with the city of Buffalo through collaborative work as efforts continue to enhance learning practices and experiences for students; support faculty and staff scholarship; and expand the college’s civic and community engagement. The Civic Action Plan Implementation Committee advances the following definitions to clarify high-quality community engagement and its impact on teaching, scholarship, creative activity, and program implementation to forge a path toward institutionalization.
Community Engagement: Collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching, and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good. (From Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification, 2015)
Community-Engaged Scholarship: Community-engaged scholarship (CES) addresses community-identified needs through research, teaching and service in the creation and dissemination of knowledge and creative expression in furtherance of the mission and goals of the university and in a mutually beneficial collaboration with the community. The quality and impact of CES are determined by academic peers and community partners.
Community-Engaged Research: A collaborative process between the researcher and community partner that creates and disseminates knowledge and creative expression with the goal of contributing to the discipline and strengthening the well-being of the community. Participation is beneficial to all stakeholders, and utilizes and incorporates campus and community assets in the design and conduct of the research.
Community-Engaged Teaching/Learning: A pedagogical approach that connects students, faculty, and staff with activities that address community-identified needs through mutually beneficial partnerships that deepen students' academic and civic learning. Examples are service-learning courses, undergraduate research, advocacy, philanthropy, or structured community service or civic engagement.
Service-Learning: A credit-bearing educational strategy that integrates meaningful community service that meets identified community need with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience and strengthen communities. (* Applied Learning)
Community-Engaged Service: The application of one's professional expertise that addresses a community identified need and supports the goals and mission of the university and the community. Community-engaged service may involve the delivery of expertise, resources and services to the community.
Anchor Institution: An anchor institution is a place-based entity that effectively and intentionally uses its economic capacity, human and social capital, and intellectual resources to advance the health, equity, and overall well-being of the surrounding community.
Civic Engagement: A teaching and learning focus on educating students as global citizens. Classes or programs include meaningful civic education and activities for social good. Classes and projects have components of reflection and engagement. (* Applied Learning)
Urban-Engaged Campus: The physical location of the college presents an ideal environment to form strategic partnerships focused on connections, contributions, and collaborations that expand current work and benefits the economic and social well-being of urban areas and the college.
Community Service: Volunteerism and community service performed by students for community benefit. This service can be, but is not necessarily integrated with, a particular program of study. This may include structured projects (days of service), smaller group projects, fundraising events, or individual volunteerism, which is acknowledged by the campus. (* Applied Learning)
Active Citizen: Individuals who prioritize the community in their values and life choices. Active citizens don’t have to take action on every social issue, but rather, see the world through a justice-oriented lens and take action on issues that matter to them and their communities.
Social Responsibility: A framework in which individuals or organizations have a responsibility to behave ethically towards social, economic, and environmental issues, acknowledging and remaining mindful of the impact of one’s choices on the larger world.
Partnership: Collaboration between faculty, staff, students and/or a higher education institution and community organizations or communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources. Examples are service-learning, community-engaged learning, research, or economic development.
* Applied Learning refers to an educational approach whereby students learn by engaging in direct application of skills, theories, and models. These definitions were submitted to SUNY as part of Buffalo State’s Applied Learning Plan.
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