Requirements for the Concentration
Students must complete two different practical experiences to fulfill the requirements for the Community Engagement and Social Change Concentration. These may include internships, service-learning, community-based participatory research, and paid or volunteer community service.
Students must complete at least one practical experience that is explicitly related to their area of interest for the concentration. It is the student's responsibility to arrange for the two relevant practical experiences.
Students will complete at least one semester's worth of weekly reflection sessions, coordinated by the CCC. These sessions facilitate student learning from practical experiences, and should be taken concurrently with or immediately following one of the practical experiences.
To count toward the CESC concentration, all service-learning, internships, community-based participatory research, and paid or volunteer community service experiences must meet the following requirements.
- One experience should consist of at least 100 documented hours of work with a consistent community partner. The other experience will be at least 200 hours. When possible, experiences of longer duration are strongly encouraged.
- At least one practical experience must be explicitly related to the student's area of interest for the concentration.
- The two practical experiences must differ in terms of host organization and tasks performed.
- Prior approval must be obtained from the concentration adviser, using the Practical Experience Approval Form(PDF).
- Both student learning goals and community outcomes of substantial benefit to the community partner must be demonstrated; both the Practical Experience Documentation Form and the Supervisor Evaluation Form must be submitted.
Practical experiences may:
- Involve students in direct service activities, projects that increase the organizational capacity of the partner organization, or participatory research that serves the goals of the partner organization.
- Occur as part of an existing Smith community service outreach program, community-based learning course or community-based participatory research project.
- Involve existing partnerships (managed by CCC or other Smith offices/programs) or another community partnership relationship developed by the student.
- Occur at any time in the calendar: during the academic semester, interterm, spring break or summer.
- Be combined with Praxis, off-campus work-study or other stipend programs.
Documenting Your Practical Experiences
Students are encouraged to maintain a journal during their practical experiences (at least one entry per week is recommended) and to keep examples of the work and materials they produce.
The following required documentation must be compiled and submitted to Carla Cooke, Administrative Coordinator, Center for Community Collaboration, Wright Hall 013. Materials must be submitted within a semester of completing your practical experience in order to be counted toward your concentration.
- Practical Experience Documentation Form (PDF), completed and signed by your concentration adviser
- Completed Supervisor Evaluation Form (PDF) from your professional supervisor
Retroactive Practical Experience Approval
If you have already completed one or more practical experiences (internships, service-learning, community-based participatory research, paid or volunteer community service) before entering the Community Engagement and Social Change concentration program, you are still eligible to receive credit for these experiences.
You will need to document your experience as follows:
- Complete the Practical Experience Documentation Form (PDF) retroactively with your concentration adviser
- Provide documentation of your experience (electronic versions or hard copies) that may include:
- Examples of work or materials you produced
- Relevant photographs
- Write a reflection paper (minimum of two pages) that addresses the following questions:
- What were your main duties and accomplishments during your internship, service-learning, community-based participatory research, or paid or volunteer community service experience?
- What aspects of your experience were most valuable?
- What insights did you gain about yourself and your preferred working style?
- How did your experience relate to your prior academic work?
- What did the experience confirm or illuminate about your future academic and/or career goals?
These materials should be compiled and discussed with your concentration adviser for your practical experience to be counted toward a CESC concentration.
Information about practical experiences can be obtained from the Center for Community Collaboration, the Smith College Career Development Office, Five College Community-Based Learning and other sources.