Community-Engaged Learning

Curricular community engagement is a high-impact practice which facilitates application of classroom concepts in meaningful capacities. It is possible to integrate community engagement in the curricula of any major or degree program—and we are here to support faculty and students in making that happen. Students can also choose their own adventures in community engagement by registering a nonprofit internship for credit, adding a Plus 1 (BU250) credit to an existing course for 30 hours of community engagement, enrolling in a Serve and Learn semester, or applying for an Impact Grant.

Experiential Objectives of Community Engagement

  • Reflective Learning: Applies what has been read, discussed, practiced, experienced, and learned, in relation to previous knowledge, to their own lives, and the lives they see around them as a way of making enriched meaning.
  • Integrative Learning: Connects knowledge across fields of study and inquiry and in relation to experiences gained through engagement with community partners.
  • Cultural Humility: Develops capacity to be transformed—in knowledge, attitudes, and behavior—by engagement with multiple worldviews and experiences.
  • Ethical Practice: Acts in informed and responsible ways to address ethical and social justice challenges.
  • Collaborative Action: Collaborates effectively with community partners to inform future actions and practices.
Abbreviated from the Brown University, Swearer Center for Community, Scholarship, Action.

Additional Information for Students

Community-Based Practicum (30 hours)

  • Community engagement has tremendous potential to enhance the learning experience of students while benefiting our community. The concept of the “Plus 1” BU250 course is to allow students to add one credit hour of experiential learning to a pre-approved complimentary course by contributing 30 hours of work to a nonprofit partner. BU250 anchors the community-based learning experience to an academic discipline and course learning outcomes that ensure deep and rich learning. To make the greatest impact on both student learning and community benefit, the community-based learning experience should allow students the opportunity to observe, reflect, and engage in work relevant to the themes of the complimentary course.
  • To register for BU250:
    1. Log into Handshake.
    2. Click "Career Center" drop down menu in the top navigation bar.
    3. Select "Experiences."
    4. Click "Request an Experience" in the top right-hand corner.
    5. Under the "Experience Type” drop down menu, click “BU250 Community-based Practicum.”
    6. Select the term in which you will register the practicum experience.
    7. You only need to fill out the required fields and your employer is the community organization partner. Your faculty sponsor will be the faculty member who is teaching your complimentary course (you’ll want to make sure they have approved supervising your practicum first). And your employer supervisor is the community organization contact who will approve your hours.
    8. Once your proposal is submitted, the Center for Community Engagement will push it through Handshake for approvals and the Registrar will add it to your schedule for the upcoming semester.

Nonprofit Internships for Academic Credit (90 hours)

  • Internships are an integral part of the Bellarmine experience. In fact, we are so committed to supporting students in their endeavors to secure internships that we offer an Internship Guarantee. The nonprofit and government sector is a great space for students to participate in this kind of experiential learning, with the opportunity to produce marked community impact and pursue meaningful work. Learn more about pursuing internships for credit or reach out to us if you need assistance connecting with a nonprofit or government agency for an internship experience.
  • To register your internship for credit:
    1. Log into Handshake.
    2. Click "Career Center" drop down menu in the top navigation bar.
    3. Select "Experiences."
    4. Click "Request an Experience" in the top right-hand corner.
    5. Under the “Experience Type” drop down menu, click “Internship for Academic Credit.”
    6. Select the term in which you will register for the internship course.
    7. Please contact Lauren Coffey in the Career Development Center (lpieper01@bellarmine.edu) if you need assistance identifying the contacts for your internship.

Serve & Learn Semester (180 hours)

  • Inspired to serve their community and be actively engaged in social justice issues, some students may choose to take a semester to focus on community action. Bellarmine has developed a structured “gap semester” experience to support students who want to respond to community needs AND stay on track to graduate with their cohort.
  • Students can elect to participate in a Service Semester (part-time enrollment) or a Co-op Semester (full-time enrollment) with the intention of enrolling full-time the following semester. Upon completing program requirements, students will receive a Service Scholarship Award of $2500 towards full-time enrollment plus summer half-tuition grants to stay on track to graduate. 
  • To register your internship for credit:
    1. Log into Handshake.
    2. Click "Career Center" drop down menu in the top navigation bar.
    3. Select "Experiences."
    4. Click "Request an Experience" in the top right-hand corner.
    5. Under the “Experience Type” drop down menu, click “Internship for Academic Credit.”
    6. Select 6 internship credit hours.
    7. Select the term in which you will register for the Serve and Learn semester.
    8. Please contact Lauren Coffey in the Career Development Center (lpieper01@bellarmine.edu) if you need assistance identifying the contacts for your internship.

Impact Grants

  • Impact Grants are available to all Bellarmine University students, faculty, and staff to apply for on an ongoing basis. The purpose of the grants is to provide seed funding of $50-500 in support of innovative initiatives that are mutually-beneficial, sustainable, and create positive impact. Students applying for Impact Grants must have a faculty or staff sponsor.
  • Impact Grant Application
  • Impact Grant Overview and Process

Community Engagement Access Fund

The Community Engagement Access Fund supports a stipend for students pursuing unpaid experiences in the nonprofit or government sector of Louisville or Southern Indiana and who demonstrate a financial need. Students can request funds during the fall, spring, or summer terms, which can be used to complete a practicum (30-hour) at $9/hour, or an internship (90-hour) or co-op (180-hour) at $12/hour.

Students must apply for funding by completing this form before the following deadlines:

  • Fall – August 1
  • Spring – December 1
  • Summer – May 1

Applications will be reviewed by committee and award recipients must meet with a member of the Career Development Center or the Center for Community Engagement to review the eligibility requirements and to connect students with community partners in the students' social justice area of interest. Funds will be distributed on a first come, first-served basis.

Student eligibility requirements include:

  • Must pursue the experience for academic credit through your academic department to ensure accountability. Students must verify their experience by completing the Application and Proposal form in Handshake before the add/drop deadline each term.
  • Must complete the virtual Learn to Serve Orientation.
  • Must complete timecards to verify employment.

The application form can be found here. Contact Dr. Liz Todd Byron (etodd@bellarmine.edu) for more information.

International Students – Community Volunteering Guide

Community engagement and volunteering is strongly encouraged at Bellarmine and we highly value the collaboration between our university and our local community in Louisville and southern Indiana. During your time here, you may find yourself involved in classes, student organizations, or other groups which require or offer off-campus volunteer activities. You may wish to volunteer your time somewhere outside of Bellarmine’s partnerships.

International students on an F-1 or J-1 visa must make sure that opportunities to volunteer or engage in do not violate rules regarding your student status. Make sure before you participate in an activity that you understand the difference between volunteering and employment. For more information click here.

Contact the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) at communityengagement@bellarmine.edu as well as International Support if you wish to discuss experiential opportunities.

Additional Information for Faculty

Faculty Resource Guide

The Center for Community Engagement (CCE) offers centralized support to faculty who wish to integrate reciprocal community engagement into their curricula. This guide outlines the resources available for faculty as they develop mutually beneficial community partnerships and community engagement opportunities.

  • Overview of the institution's curricular community engagement priorities - p. 2
  • Glossary of common terms related to community engagement at Bellarmine - p. 3
  • Identifying Standards of Community Engagement in Teaching, Scholarship, and Service for Faculty Portfolios - p. 4-5
  • Explanation of community-engaged and community topics course designations - p. 6
  • Common Experiential Objectives for community-engaged courses - p. 6
  • Faculty Impact Grants to support sustained community engagement - p. 6
  • Checklist for developing community partnerships - p. 7
  • Instructions to access the database of existing Bellarmine community partners - p. 8
  • Memorandum of Understanding template for reciprocal partnerships - p. 8
  • Introduction to the Learn to Serve Orientation Modules - p. 9
  • Information about the MobileServe app and tracking community engagement- p. 9
  • Invitation to the Faculty Community Engagement Institute - p. 10
  • Scheduling a community engagement consultation with a CCE staff member - p. 10

Faculty Consultation for Enhanced Community Engagement

  • The Center for Community Engagement offers consultation sessions to faculty members who are interested in integrating community engagement or community topics into a course they either already instruct or would like to propose. These consultations are open to faculty members at any point in the process of planning their course—whether they have a clear vision of how a community partnership could mutually benefit the students’ learning and the organizations’ needs, or they are simply entertaining the idea of incorporating community engagement into their curriculum. For a consultation, contact Dr. Liz Todd Byron (etodd@bellarmine.edu).
  • As a Campus Compact affiliate, Bellarmine faculty have free access to the statewide KyCC Service-Learning Educator Learning Community. This ELC is open to any KyCC member campus faculty (tenured, tenure track, non-tenure track and part-time), staff, community partners, AmeriCorps members and/or upper-level students that have a co-educator role. This ELC will meet virtually once per month for 1.5 hours for the 2021-2022 Academic Year. This ELC is designed to prepare individuals to teach with service learning. KyCC will learn alongside our colleagues from around the state with presentations, discussions, and guest speakers. Topics will include: an introduction to service learning and critical service learning, goals and learning outcomes, critical reflection, assessment, partnerships, logistics, and more. The first semester will focus on the foundation and theory of service learning and the second semester will focus on each participant's service learning course development. To register, fill out the form linked here.
  • In fall 2021 and spring 2022, the Center for Community Engagement and Faculty Development will be partnering to host the Community of Practice at Bellarmine University. Co-chaired by two faculty members, this learning community will be unique to Bellarmine. The Community of Practice will meet monthly for a lunch and learn. Literature to be discussed at each monthly session will be provided by Campus Compact. The purpose of the Community of Practice is to allow Bellarmine faculty (tenured, tenure track, non-tenure, and part-time) to share out current curricular work with community, build interdisciplinary and collaborative efforts across the university, and expand partnerships with local nonprofit organizations. Contact Dr. Liz Todd Byron (etodd@bellarmine.edu) for more information.
  • Campus Compact will be returning to Bellarmine’s campus for professional development trainings to build upon the May 2021 Community Engagement Institute on foundations of community engagement and course design. Faculty participants will receive an honorarium for the time committed to these professional development workshops. The 2021-2022 professional development will focus on critical community engagement, community-engaged scholarship, and building integrated partnerships. To learn more about Indiana Campus Compact, visit https://indianacampuscompact.org.

Impact Grants

  • Impact Grants are available to all Bellarmine University students, faculty, and staff to apply for on an ongoing basis. The purpose of the grants is to provide seed funding of $50-500 in support of innovative initiatives that are mutually-beneficial, sustainable, and create positive impact. Students applying for Impact Grants must have a faculty or staff sponsor.
  • Impact Grant Application
  • Impact Grant Overview and Process
Community Engagement Library Resource Guide

The Bellarmine Library houses a growing collection of community engagement resources. Please use this link to access the electronic and print books made available by the Bellarmine University W. L. Lyons Brown Library. If you cannot find the resource you are looking for, there are instructions for Interlibrary Loans.