How OCEL Supports Partners

How OCEL Supports Partners

Many nonprofit organizations and agencies work regularly with individuals in the community through volunteerism. This is an essential way in which many organizations gain the support needed to serve their clients and meet their goals.
While traditional forms of community engagement can incorporate volunteerism, the Office of Community Engaged Learning promotes academic community engagement through long-term, mutual partnerships between community partners and Lewis faculty, and students through courses and curricular programs. There are some distinct differences between community engaged learning participants and volunteers. While we support all forms of community engagement at Lewis University, our specific philosophy of CEL is designed to:

  1. Provide an opportunity for students to learn through experience in a way that challenges them to actively explore their understanding of local and global communities and their relationship to these communities.
  2. Be an academic endeavor, which integrates community engagement with the curriculum of a course. Participants will serve in a way that enables them to learn actively and achieve the learning outcomes identified by the course instructor while also responding to a need articulated by their partner organization.
  3. Engage learners in reflecting on their own civic responsibility and commitment to public action and social justice.
  4. Challenge participants to take initiative, use effective communication, collaborate with others, and expand their leadership skills.
  5. Empower students to increase their self-confidence in collaborating to implement community-identified solutions which result in positive change.


Partnering for academic community engaged learning enables OCEL to develop mutually beneficial relationships with community organizations by responding to needs that our partners have identified. Through these collaborations our partners benefit from:

  1. The growing or more advanced skills of Lewis University students, which can provide partners with innovative ways to address organization/agency needs.
  2. A mutually valuable, lasting relationship built among faculty, students, and community partners.
  3. Increased public exposure among individuals who are connected to Lewis University.

Examples of community engaged learning collaborations include:

  1. Partnering an upper-level business course with a community center to develop a business plan for the non-profit organization.
  2. Engaging students directly with youth through after-school tutoring.
  3. Inviting pre-service social studies teachers to develop exhibit-related curricula for a regional historical museum.

For more information about the other types of collaboration OCEL supports:

Types of Collaboration

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