Community-Engaged Department

“Writing is a form of action. Through writing people respond to problems and can create change in the world.” - SLCC English threshold concept

The SLCC English Department is a college-recognized Engaged Department, which means that a significant number of our faculty practice collaborative, community-centered approaches to teaching and learning. These include engaged pedagogies like service-learning, a civic orientation across the curriculum, and a department-wide focus on writing as a form of action and an agent of social change.

Working with community partner organizations, local organizers, activists and public servants, the engaged faculty of the English Department invite students to see and experience how reading and writing intertwine with community issues, local conditions, and civic action, and how writing outside the boundaries of the college classroom can have a profound effect on learning and growth.

Community-Engaged Students

Students enrolled in English classes in Composition and Writing, Creative Writing, Literature, Linguistics, and Gender and Cultural Studies are likely to encounter community-focused materials, assignments, and projects, in addition to larger scale service-learning approaches in some classes.

Those interested in the hands-on, experiential focus of service-learning can choose to take many of their English classes with this approach. English majors who are interested in community engagement have the opportunity to graduate with honors as part of the Civically Engaged Scholars Program.

Civically Engaged English Scholars

Any student pursuing an English Degree is eligible to participate in SLCC’s Civically Engaged Scholar Program, which allows students to couple their interests in English and writing with community-engagement activities, service, local activism and “passion projects” of students’ own choosing.

Civically Engaged English Scholars study how language, writing and other forms of communication allow them to respond to social problems and create change in our local communities. And they use their emerging knowledge of writing to directly serve local communities and speak to local issues they are passionate about.

Students who complete the Civically Engaged Scholar Program receive a distinction on their transcript, graduate with honor cords, and are eligible to transfer their civic engagement transcript to many four-year Utah institutions.

Students may register for Civically Engaged Scholars online, or contact the program coordinator Cristobal Villegas at cristobal.villegas@slcc.edu and 801-957-4881.

Community-Engaged Faculty

The following faculty members teach a number of their classes with service-learning or a community-focused curriculum. Email them to inquire about upcoming courses. Students can also look for “Service-Learning” as a course attribute in Banner when they register for classes. Banner’s searchable schedule can also help students find service-learning classes. Type “service learning” into the attribute field to see all SLCC’s service-learning courses available for each term.

Many additional English faculty teach courses that engage with community issues, civic and public writing, and social justice.

Reflections: A Journal of Engagement

Reflections is a newsletter for and about service-learning in English and published twice a year by the SLCC English Department. Edited by Elisa Stone, Clint Gardner, and Daniel Baird, it welcomes submissions on student experiences, faculty perspectives, pedagogical insights, community partner engagement, civic involvement, staff profiles and upcoming events. Send photos, events, posters, or articles to estone@bruinmail.slcc.edu.

Here’s a sampling of recent issues:

Community Partners

Engaged English faculty believe in cultivating strong reciprocal relationships with local community partner organizations, inviting them into our classrooms and course design processes just as they invite faculty and students into their community spaces. Meaningful service-learning balances the needs of students, faculty and community partners, responding to the needs of both groups.

Current faculty work closely with a number of local and international community partners including United Way, Catholic Community Services, Junior Achievement, Volunteers of America, International Rescue Committee, Peace Corps, Family Support Center, The INN Between and more.

Many service-learning classes invite students to select their own community partner using SLCCSync, which profiles hundreds of college-approved community partners and a wide array of service opportunities, both short- and long-term.

Student Resources

The Thayne Center for Service & Learning empowers college and community members to cultivate knowledge and skills necessary to affect positive change. Their programs include Alternative Breaks, Community Work-Study, AmeriCorps, the Bruin Pantry, Civically Engaged Scholars, SLCC Community Gardens, SLICE (Student Leaders in Civic Engagement) and much more.

The Engaged Learning Office supports service-learning, study abroad, and other high-impact learning opportunities with funding for projects, connections to service-learning classes, awards, tuition waivers, and more.

Service-Learning Student Project Funds provide funding up to $500 to offset costs directly related to their service-learning projects. Students must be in a designated service-learning class in order to apply.

SLCC’s Civically Engaged Scholar Program allows students to couple their interests in English and writing with community-engagement activities, service, local activism and “passion projects” of students’ own choosing. Register for Civically Engaged Scholars online or contact program director Cristobal Villegas at cristobal.villegas@slcc.edu or 801-957-4881.

SLCCSync.org features over 100 profiles of college-vetted community partner organizations currently looking for service learners. Users can also browse through current service opportunities to quickly find service opportunities available now.

Faculty Resources

The Service-Learning Grant & Designation (SLG&D) program provides funding to all faculty for the development of new and modified service-learning courses (up to $1,000), and for other projects connected to community-engagement, service learning, and related efforts (up to $2,000). More resources such as paid professional development opportunities and student project funding can be found on the college’s Faculty Service-Learning Page.

The Faculty and Staff Community Engagement Award provides one-time funding of between $250 and $20,000 in support of initiatives that advance SLCC’s values of community and collaboration. The award is open to all full-time faculty and staff.

SLCCSync.org features over 100 profiles of college-vetted community partner organizations currently looking for service learners.

The Thayne Center for Service & Learning can help faculty find community partners and service projects for their civically engaged classes. Browse through current service opportunities on SLCCSync.org or contact Community Partnerships Coordinator Rebecca Van Maren at rebecca.vanmaren@slcc.edu or 801-957-4674.

A collection of Service-Learning Resources including course syllabi and reflection prompts can be found on the English Faculty Resource Canvas site.