Key Competencies for the Community-Engaged Teaching and Learning Micro-Credential

Key Competencies

We define “key competencies” in this micro-credential area as the knowledge, skills, and critical commitments that must be mobilized by CEPs to effectively facilitate curricular community-engaged learning experiences that are beneficial to students and community. 

To earn this micro-credential, an individual effectively demonstrates their knowledge, experience, skills, and critical commitments in the following areas:

Area 1: Knowledge essentials 
  1. Ability to explain key definitions, historical and theoretical bases, components, and potential outcomes or impacts of service-learning
  2. Ability to articulate key components of a community-engaged learning course and key elements of a service-learning syllabus
  3. Knowledge of frameworks for understanding dynamics of power, privilege, identity, and difference as they arise in community engagement experiences 
Area 2: Partnership essentials
  1. Ability to incorporate the principles of partnership (grounded in collaborative relationships and shared activity characterized by reciprocity, mutual respect, shared authority, and co-creation) into project design and demonstrate how such principles are applied in the development of service-learning curriculum and pedagogy as well as project implementation and evaluation.  
  2. Ability to demonstrate an asset-based approach to working with communities in a service-learning partnership
  3. Knowledge of the history, strengths, and assets of the community as well as the agendas, desires, and goals of the community constituents with whom one partners
  4. Ability to develop an MOU or other mutual agreement between the higher education institution, the faculty member(s), students, and community partners that identifies and articulates the purposes, mutual responsibilities, and intended outcomes of the service-learning partnership
  5. Ability to integrate community partners as co-educators of students, allowing their expertise to inform course content, assignments, and other aspects of student’s community-engaged learning experiences
  6. Ability to introduce and frame community challenges and assets for students while involving community representatives in the process
  7. Ability to exercise on-going communication (before, during, and after the project) with community partners and demonstrate accountability to their desire, priorities, and outcomes
  8. In cases of working with vulnerable populations, ability to articulate and implement an effective transition plan that prepares them for students’ impending exit from the community-engaged learning experience
  9. Ability to identify and mobilize strategies and resources to sustain service-learning partnerships over time.
Area 3:  Course development and facilitation essentials
  1. Ability to utilize participatory pedagogies that allow students to provide input about the directions of the program and facilitate their learning from one another 
  2. Ability to develop and explicitly name competencies, learning objectives, and learning outcomes/goals for students that are thoughtfully tied to community engagement experiences
  3. Ability to develop and apply strategies of reflection and critical thinking with students–before, during, and after their community experiences–that support them in tapping their community engagement experiences to generate and/or enhance academic and civic learning
  4. Ability to foster mutually-supportive relations among students engaged in the experience 
  5. Ability to effectively facilitate reflection and capacity-building for students surrounding dynamics of power, privilege, identity, and difference as they arise in community engagement experiences
  6. Ability to support students to navigate conflicts or challenges that arise in the course of a community engaged learning experience (e.g., with partners or peers; inside or outside the classroom) 
  7. Ability to demonstrate effective strategies for developing and maintaining culturally-sensitive approaches and practices throughout the development and implementation of a community-engaged learning experience
  8. Ability to provide students with: 
    1. A description of the nature of the service-learning project and the community-identified desire or challenge the project meets
    2. Clear expectations about the time and locations in which students are expected to serve
    3. Clarity about their roles and responsibilities in the service-learning project
    4. A description of course assignments that clearly link the community- engaged experience with the course content and learning goals
    5. A description of how students will be expected to demonstrate the academic and civic learning they developed through their community-engaged experiences
  9. Ability to develop strategies and practices of public dissemination of project outcomes that include students and community partners in the process.  
Area 4: Assessment and evaluation
  1. Ability to develop assessments and document evaluation findings in order to identify and improve course effectiveness, student learning, and community-desired outcomes (Note: broader assessments could also include those related to institutional change, community development, partnership quality, etc.)
Area 5: Critical Commitments
  1. Willingness to reflect on and critique one’s own professional expertise, personal growth, and skills for fostering change and transformation as an practitioner (in relation to students, community, and one’s own institution)