Community Engagement & Collaborative Learning (CECL)

Mural DedicationThe Community Engagement & Collaborative Learning (CECL) NETWORK at Hampshire College is comprised of curricular programs, interested faculty, students, staff and community partners. It was formed in 2008 to facilitate the implementation of a new Division Two Community Engagement & Learning Requirement and to extend the capacity of academic programs at Hampshire that already provide off-campus internship and out-of-classroom learning opportunities for students locally, nationally and abroad.

This website seeks to aid students, faculty, and community-based organizations to access information connected to community-based learning and join longer-term community/college collaborative projects that address a variety of needs and build upon a diversity of rich community-based and college assets.

A network is our chosen structure; but it is also our goal to turn NETWORK into a very active verb as we develop more collaborative practices in the service of cultivating meaningful learning and promoting the cause of social justice.

Many colleges have established centers to promote community service learning. At Hampshire, we chose the structure of a Network to acknowledge and make better use of the strong assets that we already have to promote community-based work in the form of interdisciplinary academic programs, individual faculty, and committed community partners.  We sought a mechanism to enhance our own internal communication and to encourage greater cooperation to support the community-based work of students and faculty in times of scarce resources.

Networks are fluid structures and they have a certain flexibility that can involve different faculty, students and community partners in collaborative work and in varying degrees of intensity over time, and in response to changing community-defined needs. It is our hope to utilize this structure to design better outcomes from our work and to develop and sustain more reciprocal relationships with community organizations and project work that can extend beyond the college semester or cut across several disciplines. A further goal is to develop and support more collaborative work among students and between students and faculty.