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Community Engagement and Learning (CEL-2)

In keeping with our educational mission, Hampshire expects every student to contribute something of value to the larger college community and encourages them to "advance the cause of social justice and the well-being of others" outside Hampshire.

A commitment to engaged scholarship also emerges from Hampshire's distinctive pedagogy, which stresses the importance of critical inquiry and the development of knowledge that enables students to participate responsibly in a complex world.

The Community Engagement and Learning requirement (CEL-2) encourages students to design multiple opportunities to build community on campus and seek innovative ways to help address critical needs as defined by communities and organizations outside the College.

Off-campus projects are negotiated collaboratively between students and community organizations and should be founded on reciprocity and sustainability. Hampshire encourages students to integrate into their academic work, through documentation and reflection, the knowledge gained from extending their learning venues beyond the classroom. The requirement sets minimum standards for completion, but students are encouraged to engage in socially responsible activities and take advantage of the opportunity to incorporate engaged scholarship and learning throughout their Hampshire education.

Working closely with their academic advisors, Hampshire students will design and fulfill their Community Engagement and Learning requirement after they have filed and before the conclusion of their Division II. Engaging in a sustained, semester-long equivalent (about 40 hours) of community-based learning, students will demonstrate social responsibility by meeting agreed-upon goals defined by an organization, person, or community on or, more typically, off campus. To the extent possible, these contributions and the engaged learning that results will complement or in some way further a student's academic course of study, and may take many forms.

Typical examples are:

  • Internships (in local, national, or international settings) that are arranged through a course, through a Hampshire program, or independently
  • Various forms of mentoring in one's area of growing expertise (e.g., teaching assistant position, ESL, or other types of tutoring)
  • Other types of applied work that require students to utilize and build upon skills and expertise related to their divisional work (e.g., campus organizations, apprenticeships with NGOs, museums, or schools)

All students must carefully negotiate their proposed form of community engagement with their Division II committee before initiating the activity in order to determine if it meets the criteria and spirit of this requirement. While integration of the Division II Community Engagement and Learning Requirement into the student's area of concentration is desirable, it is not required.

Students are expected to engage in ongoing reflection on the relationship between their own learning goals and community needs as defined by the individual(s) or organization(s) with whom they are working. A reflective essay that describes the work accomplished, the need(s) being addressed, the learning that took place from this experience, and (where applicable) the integration of this learning with the academic focus of a student's concentration will be included in the final Division II portfolio, along with any documented project work completed for the sponsor.

Upon completion of each activity, a supervisor must sign a brief form and evaluate the student's work. This evaluation, the reflective essay, and accompanying documentation must be included in the Division II portfolio.

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With CEL-2
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Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002