- It is a mission driven activity;
- It is a key part of the College’s Liberal Learning program;
- It adopts a developmental approach for the students; and
- It follows a capacity-building model with its partners.
All of the College’s CEL activities and programs are directly tied to TCNJ’s official mission. It reminds us that an excellent education often calls for us to explore and examine the world beyond the campus; where we can more often participate in discussions and engage in experiences that are truly transformative. These experiences are even more profound and impactful when we have opportunities to learn while we work with others to make a positive difference in our communities, applying our knowledge and skills to some of society’s most pressing problems as well as challenges.
TCNJ also believes that educated and enlightened individuals must participate in a series of experiences that promote their scholarly growth, broaden their knowledge of all sectors of human inquiry, and emphasizes civic responsibility; these are the three pillars of general education. Getting involved is embedded throughout the curriculum.
A Developmental Approach for Students:
The CEL program is divided into two levels, enabling students to progress along a continuum from awareness, to understanding, to application. To start, all 1400 first year students are required in to participate in a meaningful experience during their first year on campus. The vision is that all will return and participate in more advanced class-based projects during their final three undergraduate years. For more information on the link between learning and community engagement, see the article by Ariane Hoy of the Bonner Foundation “High-Impact Learning and High-Impact Community Engagement” in the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ Democracy & Diversity journal.
Capacity-Building for Community Partners:
Finally, the Bonner Center and Scholars enter into deliberate and comprehensive partnerships with local community organizations. The goal is to identify and address the range of needs of interests of the Center’s partners from direct service, to research, to planning and resource development, among others by tapping into the service and community engaged learning resources on campus.