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Community Engagement

Community Engagement Program Information

The Master of Community Engagement is a 36-credit program. Students may take up to two courses as a non-matriculated student before formally applying to the program. Students may be interested in taking a class or two in topics relevant to their work or professional interests.  Please contact the Graduate Admission office for more information.

Core Courses (16 credits)

The core of our program emphasizes social justice and the role that schools, colleges and communities can and should play in a democratic, pluralistic, and complex society. Required courses for all students include:

  • ED 640G - Diversity and Social Justice
  • ED 691G - Community Engagement: Theory and Practice

All students complete a year-long capstone experience with corresponding coursework in fall and spring semesters.

  • Fall semester: Research course
  • Spring semester: Capstone

Areas of Concentration (12 credits)

Students select from the following concentrations and courses to build a program that meets their personal and professional needs.

Community Organizations (Recommended)
  • CME 521G - Management and Leadership in Non-Profits
  • CME 540G - Fundraising, Grants and Development or CME 506G - Community Organizing and Development
  • CME 545G - The Politics of Community Engagement
PreK-12 Education (recommended)
  • CME 525G - School, Family and Community Partnership or CME 530G - Social Policy for Children and Families
  • CME 550G - Youth Development: Leadership and Mentors 
  • CME 552G - Positive Youth Development
Higher Education (recommended)
  • ED 620G - The College Student or an alternate Higher Education elective
  • ED 667G - University-Community Relations
  • ED 671G - Theories of Adult Learning

Fellowship/Electives (8 credits)

Fellowship students are assigned 8 credits for their fellowship on-site experience and seminar, and select 8 elective credits. Students who are not participating in the Fellowship program select 16 credits of electives. Electives may be in any of the graduate education programs: community engagement, higher education, teacher leadership or teacher education. Sample electives are listed above. Your specific courses will be determined in consultation with your academic advisor.

Course Descriptions

Courses designated with an asterisk * are core course requirements.  

CME 506G - Community Organizing and Development 
This course examines place-based community organizing and development from a social justice perspective. Through case studies, students learn about current issues and approaches to community change. The course emphasizes organizing in low-income communities and provides an assets-based approach. The course will address key issues such as housing, economic development, neighborhood revitalization, and sustainability, with a focus on the social and political aspects of development.

CME 521G - Management and Leadership of the Nonprofit Sector
This course provides an overview of leadership and management issues pertinent to the nonprofit sector. Topics include human resource development, program development, financial resource management, and organizational learning. The course also focuses on leader qualities and career paths in the nonprofit sector. 

CME 525G - School, Family and Community Partnership 
This course considers the roles of schools in communities and explores methods and models for schools to engage families and communities to maximize student learning and development. Included in this course are issues such as schools as community centers, parent involvement, and interagency collaboration. Special attention will be paid to bridging racial, class, and cultural differences.

CME 530G - Social Policy for Children and Families 
This course will examine federal, state, and local policies and programs relevant to the wellbeing of children at risk. Students will learn about specific laws, policies, and programs impacting children. The course also examines processes through which policy decisions are made, and how individuals can impact policymaking and advocate for families.

CME 535G - Social Justice Education in Action 
This course will focus on the practice of social justice education and action, including strategies and approaches to raising awareness of diversity and social justice issues. As part of this course, students will plan, implement, and evaluate social justice awareness projects on and off campus.

CME 540G - Fundraising, Grants and Development 
This course examines the critical role of fundraising and development in nonprofit organizations and other community settings. Students will have the opportunity to develop a grant proposal. Students will become knowledgeable about a wide range of fundraising strategies and techniques, such as capital campaigns and event planning. They will consider related issues including branding, community relations, and use of social media. 

CME 545G - The Politics of Community Engagement
This course examines political engagement as a vehicle for community and social change at local, regional, and national levels.  The course will explore how nonprofit and community organizations can work with legislators on policy; how community activists can lobby and advocate for change; and how community members can be active participants in our democracy. 

CME 550G - Youth Development: Leadership and Mentoring for Social Change
This course will provide aspiring leaders with the opportunity to explore theory and practice relevant to youth development, leadership, mentoring, and social change. The theory, practice, and definition of mentoring will be discussed in conjunction with the social change model of leadership. Students will have an opportunity to learn about themselves and their leadership style, while considering the broader context of leadership and social change. Critical questions that this course will explore include: What is the connection between mentoring and leadership?; can mentoring cross gender, race, class, and age?; and how important is it for mentors and mentees to have a similar worldview and values? Highly experiential in nature, this course will provide guided opportunities for students to practice leadership behaviors linked to positive youth development and social change. Students will be immersed in a mentoring partnership with the Lawrence2College program, a high school based mentoring initiative).

CME 561G - Fellowship/Assistantship *
The fellowship provides students with the opportunity to gain practical experience, to develop and strengthen their professional skills, to try out professional roles and to learn more about their professional interests, and to apply theories and concepts learned in the classroom to problems and issues in the real-world. The fellowship class is intended to facilitate students’ success in their fellowships. It provides opportunities for critical reflection of their fellowship experiences and peer problem-solving and support. The course helps students explore their career interests and assess their individual strengths and areas for continued growth. It is meant to provide students with an overview of career options and scholarly pathways relevant to community engagement. This course is required for fellows and is available to students completing assistantships.

ED 610G - Research Methods *
This course introduces students to the process of research with an emphasis on community-based research and participatory action approaches. The course serves as a foundation and prerequisite to the Capstone Project course.

ED 635G - Theories of Organizational Change
This course explores organizational theory and organizational change within the context of nonprofit organizations. Topics include industry structure, competition and differentiation; integration, diversification, and expansion; and strategic management of organizational culture and change. While themes and case studies are drawn from business practice, the key focus will be on the overall PreK16 educational system, higher education, and community-based nonprofit organizations.

ED 640G - Diversity and Social Justice *
This course uses a social justice framework to explore issues of power and privilege with respect to diverse populations. Historical and contemporary oppression based on race, gender, ability, and other differences are explored. Self-reflection is used to examine students’ own biases and prejudices. This course offers aspiring community activists the opportunity to learn about social change through social justice education, advocacy, and outreach initiatives.

ED 667G - University-Community Relations
This course is an exploration of patterns of communication, interaction, and relationships between institutions of higher education and their local and regional communities. The course examines how historical, social, cultural, and political forces impact such relationships and interactions, with a particular emphasis on issues of diversity. The course explores such relations within the context of the media and the press, goals of community development and change, and the role of the university in its engagement with the public sphere.

ED 671G - Theories of Adult Learning and Development
This course examines the research of adult learning theories, including such topics as aptitude, motivation, cognitive development, psychosocial development, intelligence, and learning styles through the prisms of gender, ethnicity, race and social class. The course looks at implications for the teaching and learning process, curriculum design, and instructional practices. The course also provides an overview of relevant developmental issues, with specific implications for applied settings.

ED 691G - Community Engagement: Theory and Practice *
This course examines the contemporary community engagement movement, including civic and community engagement, service learning, community-based research in K-12 and higher education, and community-based education and learning. It explores key pragmatic issues such as planning and implementing community partnerships, developing service learning courses, and identifying outcomes for students and sites, as well as core theoretical issues such as community capacity building, reciprocity, sustainability, and ethical engagement. 

GRAD 590 - Capstone in Community Engagement *
The capstone project is designed to integrate, extend, and showcase student learning through the Master’s Program in Community Engagement. With the guidance and support of faculty, each student will implement a project that demonstrates and strengthens his or her community engagement knowledge and skills. Each student is expected to give a formal presentation of his or her project to the class at the end of the semester. Students will also give presentations throughout the semester. The capstone course is intended to support students through the implementation and write-up of the capstone project. This course will serve as a learning community and students will be expected to support one another in their work.