Independent Civic Engagement Projects
If you would like to become involved with a cause you are passionate about or fulfill your Civic Engagement Core Requirement through work you are already doing, you might be able to do an independent project for civic engagement credit. At Pacific University, Civic Engagement (CE), is typically completed through a CE designated course, but can be done well in an independent way. All it takes is some focus, drive, communication and hard work.
Students and faculty can download the Guide to Independent Civic Engagement Projects (pdf), which includes all necessary application forms.
Basic Information about CE Projects
Civic engagement projects combine academic learning (related to disciplinary concepts and skills) with civic action (such as service, advocacy, awareness-raising, community-based research, campaigning, or activism) to address a significant social or environmental issue in the community (e.g. immigration, education, pollution, injustice, etc.). Students design their own projects, which entail approximately 40 hours of action and associated academic work sponsored by a faculty member. For all CE Projects:
- Independent CE projects always entail academic learning + civic action and must adhere to the Principles of Quality Academic Civic Engagement (pdf)and strive to meet our learning objectives for civic engagement.
- A faculty sponsor is required (akin to independent study); the faculty member should be knowledgeable about the academic area of focus for the CE project.
- Students are encouraged to take a CE course (instead of a project) when possible due to the benefit students gain from a shared civic engagement experience and faculty workload issues.
- A proposal/application is required (completed by student in conjunction with faculty and MCCE) and available on the MCCE website to download.
- Students must meet with the MCCE director (Stephanie Stokamer) for project approval; a preliminary meeting is recommended when a student is considering an independent project.
- Proposal / application should be submitted during registration or before add/drop periods.
- One complete project fulfills the CE Core Requirement, regardless of number of credits (0-2).
- One complete project is either CIV 110 or CIV 111 finished in a single semester or CIV 109 + CIV 110 or CIV 109 + CIV 111 to span two semesters.
CE Project Options
Students have a few choices for completion of an independent civic engagement project: CIV 110, CIV 111, CIV 109 + CIV 110, or CIV 109 + CIV 111. The differences between the CE project options are outlined below.
CIV 110 Civic Engagement Project
- *Most typical CE project*
- Stands alone as a single semester project or can be taken with CIV 109 as the second semester in a two-semester sequence (CIV 109 + CIV 110)
- credit (depends on student scheduling needs as the workload is the same)
- Pass/No Pass
CIV 111 Civic Engagement and Diversity Project
- Also fulfills IP/DP Core Requirement
- Involves in-depth experiences with diversity and could include international travel
- Stands alone as a single semester project or can be taken with CIV 109 as the second semester in a two-semester sequence (CIV 109 + CIV 111)
- Proposals must be approved by IP/DP committee in addition to MCCE director and sponsoring faculty
- Always 2 credits
- Letter graded
CIV 109 Civic Engagement Project Prep
- Only for students who want to take two semesters to complete their project
- First semester of a two-semester sequence (CIV 109 + CIV 110 or CIV 109 + CIV 111)
- Should not be taken alone without intention of also taking CIV 110 or CIV 111
- Does NOT by itself fulfill CE Core Requirement (Core Requirement is only fulfilled after successful completion of the second semester, CIV 110 or CIV 111)
- 0 credit
- Pass/No Pass
Ten Steps to Plan an Independent CE Project
Here is a step-by-step guide to working out your independent CE project:
- Before you begin, please read through the Principles of Quality Academic Civic Engagement (pdf) to get a better sense of what the CE project should entail. This document will be used by reviewers when determining whether your proposal is approved.
- Determine whether you want to sign up for CIV 110 or CIV 111, and how long you are going to take to complete your project. Projects spanning more than one semester require CIV 109.
- Decide what area of interest your project may fall into (i.e., environmental studies, psychology, etc.). You will need a faculty sponsor who can assess your learning in that area.
- Find organizations/institutions that are working in the same interest area OR think creatively about how you might begin solo work in that area of interest. McCall Center for Civic Engagement (MCCE) staff may be able to assist you in finding options. Imagine what steps you could take to fill a need in that organization/institution’s mission.
- Contact the organization/institution with a rough idea of what you could do and what you would like to do with them. However, be open to hearing what they need, since CE should be about work that is mutually beneficial to you and the organization. You may need to meet with someone at the organization, complete an application, and/or do a background check, so be sure to plan accordingly.
- At the same time that you are doing #5, it is a good idea to approach a faculty member regarding sponsorship and to meet with and discuss your project proposal with MCCE staff. Contact the MCCE to set an appointment. At this stage, everything is still tentative, but it is helpful to be in touch with all the key people so you know that you are on track.
- Once you and the organization have made a tentative plan, you’ll need to fill out the appropriate Project Proposal form. Fill it out completely and in detail, outlining how your project will fit the needs of your interest area.
- Contact your faculty sponsor to review your proposal and get his or her signature.
- Contact the director of the McCall Center for Civic Engagement (MCCE), Stephanie Stokamer, Scott 109 to set an appointment to discuss your project proposal and get her signature.
- If approved, you will submit your paperwork to the Registrar to register. Have fun, help the community, and learn something!