Community Engaged Learning
Objective and Benefits
HKUST Connect is founded on the belief that engagement in the dynamics, challenges, and issues of local, national and global communities leads to mutually beneficial learning and contribution. Community engagement through service learning courses, community action research, and service projects with community partners aims to achieve the following:
- Enhance students’ understanding of academic content
- Develop problem-solving and leadership skills
- Promote deeper understanding of root causes of social problems and policies to address them
- Nurture a lifelong commitment to service
Faculty members find that using a community engaged learning approach enlivens their teaching and offers new opportunities for research that contributes to academic scholarship. Community organizations benefit from the services, products, or knowledge generated by students and faculty, and also get to participate in the development of the individuals placed in their organizations.
Forms of Community Engaged Learning
Community engaged learning takes different forms. It is most often part of a credit-bearing academic course or program. It may also be a service project that does not carry academic credit, but is otherwise structured to provide clear learning objectives and opportunities for rigorous reflection. A key element of community engaged learning is the involvement of one or more community partners in designing the experience so as to ensure that it meets an authentic community need. Please refer to Best Practices for more information.
Other ways that faculty and staff can support student involvement in the community are:
- Advise a student group or project doing community work in your area of expertise
- Advise a student doing a community action research project or academic paper related to a community issue
- Facilitate a group discussion or reflection on a community issue for the Living Learning Community
- Talk with students about your own volunteer involvement or professional service related to community issues