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Reports highlight civic engagement efforts for 2017–2018 school year

Redbirds serve at Unity Community Center as part of curricular civic engagement through LAN 320: World Language Teaching in the K–12 Setting.

During the 2017–2018 academic year, Illinois State University’s core value of civic engagement was evident as approximately 11,409 students completed an estimated 87,146 hours of service through both curricular and co-curricular projects and activities.

For curricular civic engagement, Illinois State faculty and staff reported that 303 class sections included elements of civic engagement, with 135 faculty/staff members involved. Approximately 4,181 students were engaged in these projects and activities, creating an estimated 53,729 hours of service. 372 community partners were supported.

In terms of co-curricular engagement, 164 different activities were reported with 79 faculty and staff members involved. An estimated 7,218 students participated, performing approximately 33,417 hours of service. 120 community partners benefited from co-curricular engagement.

The information was tabulated as part of recent reports compiled by the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CESL). Overall curricular and co-curricular reports are available on the CESL website. In total, 45 individual engagement reports were created and distributed to administrators in various divisions, colleges, schools, departments, and units on campus.

The recent reports are the second set compiled and created annually since CESL began operations in 2016–2017.

CESL was established to further strengthen Illinois State’s commitment to its core value of civic engagement. One of the largest priorities from the task force originally charged with planning for a center for civic engagement (later named CESL) was to develop and institute a sustainable mechanism to record and track civic and community engagement activities across the University. These reports from CESL fulfill that purpose.

Christine Bruckner, assistant director of assessment, data management, and grant writing at CESL, worked with the engagement data, analyzed it, and created each individual report.

“By collecting information about community engagement efforts, creating meaning from that information through analysis, and sharing that information back to the campus and community, we are not only better equipped to support faculty, staff, students, and community members that are working together, but we are also able to accurately tell the civic engagement story of Illinois State,” Bruckner said.

Data used in the reports was collected from University faculty and staff during the late spring, summer, and early fall 2018. Other preexisting data sources were also used during compilation.

“As we continue to collect and analyze our civic engagement data,” Bruckner said. “These annual reports will become more robust and they will help us determine trends over time. We will be able to more accurately showcase the University’s emphasis on civic engagement.”

Data collection for the 2018–2019 school year will open later this semester with a new Civic Engagement Reporting Portal. This new tool will allow faculty and staff to enter civic engagement activities and also copy those activities for easier recording in the future.

The new application will also allow CESL to continue to build a central repository of civic engagement information and highlight the great community engagement work of Illinois State faculty, staff, and students.

More information about the new web application will be available this spring.

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