Engaged Civic Learning

Rutgers–Camden faculty members advance the twin objectives of student learning and community development through courses that integrate civic engagement into the curriculum. We call this approach engaged civic learning.

Creating Innovative Partnerships

Engaged Civic Learning is a teaching strategy that enhances courses across a wide range of disciplines in all of Rutgers University–Camden’s schools and colleges. Supported by the Office of Civic Engagement, faculty members in fields such as biology, history, English, nursing, sociology, and business have created innovative partnerships with community organizations that deepen students’ understanding of course content through active engagement with communities beyond the campus.

Students engage in service, advocacy, and other forms of participation that connect course material to the real efforts of real people to make positive change. Engaged Civic Learning courses contribute to Camden and the region right now while preparing Rutgers–Camden students for lives of active citizenship and informed leadership.

The Civic Engagement Faculty Fellows program prepares faculty members to enhance their courses through the integration of Engaged Civic Learning. Faculty members offering Engaged Civic Learning courses may apply for small grants to cover related expenses.

See our list of current and past Engaged Civic Learning courses.

Examples of Civic Learning in Practice

  • Social Stratification
  • Urban Education
  • Exploring Careers in Biology
  • Organizational  Behavior
  • Basic Clinical Nursing Competencies
  • Community Health Nursing
  • View a comprehensive list of Engaged Civic Learning Courses

Social Stratification: Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice

The American Dream highlights opportunity for individuals to achieve success based on their own ability and initiative. How well does our society live up to this ideal? Who gets ahead, and who falls behind? Who gets what and why? This course examines the distribution of societal resources and rewards in the United States, focusing on poverty, inequality, and the widening gap between the rich and poor, and discussing factors that affect access, opportunities, and life chances in contemporary U.S. society: education, income, wealth, race, ethnicity, and gender. Course requirements include discussion questions and quizzes on readings, active participation in class discussion, an engaged civic learning component, and exams.

Urban Education: Department of Childhood Studies

This course applies an ecological approach to studying urban schools. We explore how policies, cities, neighborhoods, families, school buildings, and classrooms together shape the social and political landscapes of urban schooling.  This course integrates engaged civic learning: students learn firsthand about urban schooling and the perspectives of youth through participating in the Rutgers North Camden Schools Partnership at Pyne Poynt Middle School. We examine the relationship between schools and the urban environments in which they are situated, looking at how schools perpetuate or contest inequalities along race, class, ethnic, and gender lines. The course explores key topics and debates on equity and access in urban schools. Specifically, we seek to understand youth’s multiple and varied perspectives on schooling.

Exploring Careers in Biology: Department of Biology, Arts and Sciences

The purpose of this course is for students to identify or confirm their career goals in biological sciences through service learning at diverse work places. Expected Learning Outcomes include:

  • Students will identify the need of the society, and their vocational calling in the biological sciences discipline.
  • Students will have experiential learning opportunities by participating a community service for the city of Camden.
  • Students will evaluate the service-learning experiences through critical reflections.

Organizational Behavior: School of Business

Organizational behavior is the study of how individuals behave in various types of organizations.  An organization may be defined as a group of individuals (two or more people) that functions to achieve a common goal or set of goals.  Therefore, organizations may be as small as a dyad or as large as the largest corporation in the world.  Organizational behavior provides frameworks for understanding and changing human behavior in all types of organizations.  In this course, we will examine some of the bases of individual behavior within organizations, then move to the level of the small group (generally a work group or team within a larger organization), and then examine the structure of larger organizations.  These areas of study are based primarily on the fields of psychology and sociology. In this course, we will emphasize the management applications of knowledge gained from these basic disciplines.

Basic Clinical Nursing Competencies: School of Nursing

This course is designed to introduce the baccalaureate nursing student to clinical skills required to provide safe, high quality, evidence-based patient care.  Opportunities for skills practice and mastery will be provided in the Clinical Skills Laboratory, followed by selected patient care experiences in structured clinical settings. This course focuses on developing clinical reasoning/judgment to promote, restore and maintain health in individuals, families, and groups across the life span. Relevant nursing care provider skills are practiced in simulated laboratory settings. These skills establish the foundation for care of patients with a range of health care needs.  The course provides opportunities for students to integrate the nursing process, nursing care standards, issues of cultural and spiritual diversity, scientific evidence, and ethical and legal principles related to nursing practice. Students will complete a variety of assignments designed to help them develop critical thinking skills, which are the basis for professional nursing practice. 

Community Health Nursing: School of Nursing

This course is intended to introduce baccalaureate nursing students to the concept of the community as a client system, and to the roles and responsibilities of nurses in the promotion and maintenance of population health in both the local and global community. The course incorporates nursing, public health, and epidemiological theory and science in the study of community and global health. Emphasis is on health promotion, health maintenance, disease prevention, and cultural competence in the care of individuals, families, groups, and communities in their homes and in community settings. Strategies of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention and the concept of community assessment will be utilized in the development of an educational intervention.