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Partnering with Community-Engaged Learning Courses at Fairfield University
The Center for Social Impact connects community partners with faculty and students to build learning opportunities for our students that also meet community-identified needs. We focus on harnessing the assets of the community: the partnering organizations and professionals, the University, the faculty, and the students.
We believe that the community partner and University faculty serve as co-educators; lessons learned from community-engaged projects are directly applied to course material.
We strive for sustainability - the development of long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships with community organizations.
If you are interested in learning more, or would like to discuss the ways that the Center for Social Impact can collaborate with your organization, contact Andrea Canuel.
We are currently looking for community partners for the following Community-Engaged Learning Courses:
- Not-for-Profit Accounting: Students work as in-house accounting/finance interns for 20 hours per semester (fall semesters only)
- Web Design: Teams of students can design and develop NEW websites for nonprofit organizations (fall semesters only)
- Database Systems: Teams of students design and develop NEW data management software (fall/spring semesters)
The Students and Teachers Empowerment Partnership, or STEP, is a collaboration between Fairfield University’s Center for Social Impact, the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions, and Cesar Batalla Elementary School in Bridgeport. Formed in 2011, the partnership’s initial goal was to improve literacy outcomes for children in kindergarten through third grade. This partnership has expanded to offer a number of meaningful learning and engagement opportunities for nearly 200 Fairfield University students per year, providing support at every grade level within the school. It also offers a host of professional development opportunities for both Fairfield University and Cesar Batalla School professionals. To develop and monitor the ongoing initiatives of the partnership, a leadership team comprised of Cesar Batalla teachers and administrators and Fairfield University faculty and staff convenes every month. The efforts of this dedicated group and the positive impact on both the school and university communities earned the partnership an “Excellence” award from the New England Board of Higher Education in 2013. In an effort to expand partnership activities and the reach of our impact, STEP welcomes the opportunity to partner with individuals and groups from the communities which the partnership serves.
Partnership Activities have included:
- Community-engaged learning courses through which Fairfield undergraduate students provide literacy-focused tutoring to Cesar Batalla students in grades K-8
- Tutoring for at-risk middle school students provided by Fairfield University students through the Students Helping Students Club
- Field trips to Fairfield University for Cesar Batalla students to participate in read-alouds, athletic and cultural events, and campus tours
- After-school mentorship programs
- Ongoing teacher professional development programming
If you are interested in learning how to become involved with STEP, contact Michelle Hernandez, Partnership Coordinator and AmeriCorps VISTA Member.