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Community Engagement & Social Change Concentration


The Community Engagement and Social Change Concentration (CESC) connects community work with academic life by supporting students to embed community work directly into their curricular studies. The Jandon Center for Community Engagement is the organizational hub for CESC.

Working with the oversight of a faculty adviser and, as appropriate, a concentration mentor from the Jandon staff team, you will chart a pathway that combines interdisciplinary coursework with practical work in communities. Concentration mentors have broad expertise on community engagement and institutional memory of how previous concentrators met CESC objectives. Faculty advisors have content expertise that will help students to realize their specific interests within the CESC framework. You will expand and deepen your understanding of local, national and global issues affecting communities. You will develop the skills, awareness and knowledge essential to engaging mindfully and effectively with communities. Depending on your interdisciplinary focus, you are encouraged to link your work to the considerable resources of the college's other centers and School for Social Work.  

You will draw on the rich course offerings from all of the Five Colleges, as well as from the breadth of resources and expertise of the Smith Jandon Center for Community Engagement to define a focus of study related to forging equitable systems and structures. Examples of students’ areas of interest have included immigration and citizenship, public health, education, law and social policy, community organizing, community design and built environments, grassroots narratives and environmental justice.

Gateway Course

CCX 120/IDP 120 Community-Based Learning (CBL): Ethics and Practice

Service-learning, civic engagement and community service have become familiar terms for describing forms of community-based learning (CBL) in higher education. Theorists and practitioners continue to debate how to bring community issues into the classroom and how best to bring students into the neighborhoods surrounding their colleges and universities. IDP 120 considers these issues through exposure to both the literature of community engagement and the experiences of those who practice its different forms.

This course serves as a gateway course for the Community Engagement and Social Change Concentration. As such, one of the primary purposes of the class is to give students exposure to the varied opportunities available at the college for engaging with communities. Specifically, the course will focus on volunteer opportunities, course-based engagement and examples of community-based research.

Within and across these different approaches, we will identify and explore the ethical issues that characterize community partnerships and the best practices that attempt to address these issues. Students will also interact with peers, faculty, guest speakers and community members who will provide first-hand perspectives on the local practice of CBL and the critical needs in surrounding communities. (Graded S/U only. 2 credits)



Declaration of Concentration

Students who have been accepted into the concentration and received their adviser’s name need to fill out the
Program of Study Declaration Form.
This is the last step in making the concentration official in Workday.

Practical Experience Forms

After discussing the proposed practical experience with their advisers, students need to fill out the corresponding practical experience approval form in order to have the experience count towards the concentration requirements:

  • Summer Internship (100 hours or more)—Internship Credit Application
    All students undertaking a summer internship of at least 100 hours are eligible to receive academic credit (0.25 credits per experience) that will appear on their transcript. We encourage all students who qualify to apply for internship credit. Students applying for Praxis funding don’t need to fill out this form, and should instead use the “Praxis with Credit” form below.
  • Unpaid Summer Internship (220 hours or more)—Praxis with Credit Application
    All Smith students are eligible to receive a stipend payment for one normally unpaid internship through the Praxis program at the Lazarus Center. These internships must take place during the summer, and must comprise at least 220 working hours. Students in Concentrations are eligible to apply for Praxis a second time– Praxis Plus. When applying for a Praxis internship, the applicant must specify if the internship counts towards a concentration and should fill out the “Praxis with Credit” application.
  • Other Internships and Practical Experiences
    Students whose internships do not meet the above requirements because they take place during Interterm, during the school year, or for any other reason, should fill out the following forms.
    Prior to starting the internship please fill out the Practical Experience Approval Form.
    Upon completion of the practical experience please fill out the Practical Experience Completion Form.
  • Retroactive Credit for an Experience
    Students who completed a practical experience relevant to the concentration prior to being accepted into the cohort should discuss the experience with their concentration adviser as soon as possible. Once the experience is approved, students must fill out the Practical Experience Completion Form and check the “Retroactive Experience” box on the form.

Advising Checklist for Graduation

Students are required to submit a completed Concentration Advising Checklist at the start of their final semester. This form documents the completed components of the concentration requirements, and must be signed by the student’s concentration adviser. Completed form should be sent to the registrar’s office ( and to the administrative coordinator for concentrations (


How to Apply

Fall 2022 application deadline has passed.

Applications will be reviewed by the advisory board at the end of October to determine the feasibility of the proposed course of study in the CESC Concentration along with the your intended or declared major. Accepted students will be assigned to an adviser who will oversee your progress through the program and approve internships.



Jandon Center for Community Engagement

Smith College
Wright Hall
Northampton, MA 01060

Phone: 413-585-3060
Fax: 413-585-3068