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Fall 2020 Service-Learning & Community Engagement: Virtual & Capacity Building

During this pandemic, University and The Shriver Center’s operations and best practices continue to emerge and transform. The high-impact practice of Service-Learning & Community Engagement (SLCE) creates an opportunity as we continue to fight dual pandemics; COVID-19 and systemic racism crisis to continue to sustain university and community connections.  Many of our SLCE partners have suspended or shifted their organizations daily face-to-face operations and transitioned to remote and/or a digital delivery of service. However, community needs have not disappeared. Over the last few months, we have identified ways that the UMBC community can serve organizations through capacity-building projects.

While mostly virtual, through a maximum flexibility standpoint to serve community needs and continue to facilitate teaching and learning opportunities for faculty and students, working together is critical in these challenging times. We will continue to update this page as more information is available.

Based on University protocol and current regulations to ensure the safety of our UMBC community and community partners the following protocols will be in place for Fall 2020:

For students:

1) Applied learning opportunities, to include service-learning & community engagement (SLCE) opportunities through our 096 Community Service & Learning Practicum, will be remote. In very limited cases, some students might want to pursue in-person, off-campus opportunities. In that case, students will need to complete a ALEET Exception Request Form, which includes the most recent message from Provost. Finalizing an ALEET Exception Form for 096 Prac will require working with a Service-Learning & Community Engagement Staff member to approve a placement that would then be forwarded to the ALEET Committee for review.  If your position switches from remote to on-site mid-way through the fall, you can submit the exception request at that time. Each of us plays an important role in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Your support and understanding during this extraordinarily challenging time is greatly appreciated.

2) Based on ongoing conversations and planning with on and off campus staff, faculty, and liaisons, the majority of Shriver Center service opportunities will be capacity building projects and online classroom (tutoring, mentoring, instruction) forums. Some of our partnerships will resume in 2021, while others are planning for a fall start:

  • Local schools (Arbutus Middle School, Relay Elementary School, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School)
  • Other institutions of higher education (UMB CURE Scholars Program)
  • UMBC/Shriver Center collaborations with partnering schools (the Sherman Center for Early Learning in Urban Communities’ Early Literacy Program with Bay Brook Elementary/Middle School and Curtis Bay Elementary/Middle School; The Choice Program with Ben Franklin High School; the Sherman STEM Scholars with Lakeland Elementary/Middle School)
  • Non-profits (Esperanza Center, Reading Partners, which is connected to a number of schools throughout Baltimore).

As these details are finalized, we will be posting opportunities.


Arbutus Achievers, Arbutus Middle School, “End of Semester Celebration,” Fall 2019.

3) Set a meeting with a SLCE Staff member which will be hosted through a digital platform (primarily through WebEx) to discuss options, finalize service site, and review the Fall 2020 096 Practicum syllabus. Enrollment for Practicum 096 will be facilitated digitally to minimize person-to-person contact.

Eloise Grose:  4H@PAL, BUGSS,  Chemistry Tutorial Center,Choice College Night, Choice at Ben Franklin High School, College Gardens, Esperanza Center, Hillcrest Elementary School, Homework Hounds at Lakeland Elementary/Middle School, IHU/TRS Peers, OrchKids, RYP, Lakeland Math Coaches, Latino Racial Justice Circle, Global Brigades, Alternative School Break, Frederick Rescue Mission, Long Reach High School-Adult ESOL, St. Agnes Hospital, Supplemental Instructors, The Children’s Home, Thread, UMBC Reach Together, UMBC VITA, Walden Circle

Emily Passera: Arbutus Achievers, Audubon Center at Patterson Park, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Creative Coders, Project Waves, Relay Elementary School, Shriver Living Learning Community, UMB CURE Scholars

Kasey Venn: BARCS, B’more Clubhouse, Baltimore ToolBank, Best Buddies, Great Kids Farm, IQRAA Institute, MS Aquatics, Paul’s Place Hot Lunch, Paul’s Place After-school Mentoring (George Washington Elementary School), Reading Partners, Retriever Essentials,  RICA, Soccer Without Borders, Special Olympics MD, SWES, Walking Discovery, U.S. Dream Academy

Lori Hardesty:  Sherman Early Literacy Fellows at Bay Brook and Curtis Bay EMS, Shriver Living Learning Community, Student Ambassadors

Interested in taking a community engagement course, SOCY 396, this fall?

This course is only offered in the Fall and Spring semesters and is taught by Shriver Center Director Michele Wolff.  This fall, class will meet virtually, beginning mid-September, Mondays 1-1:50 pm.  It is offered for up to 3 credits, and is pass/fail.  For those with a course conflict, Mondays 1-1:50pm, there is an option for an independent study.  For SOCY 396, 096 Prac Community Service & Learning is a co-requisite!  The 096 Prac placement must first be established before permission for SOCY 396 will be given.  Please see the directions above.

Fall 2020 SOCY 396 syllabus

Fall 2020 SOCY 396 Independent Study

SOCY 396 Syllabi Addendum


For faculty:

In early 2020, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching designated UMBC with its distinguished Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. Carnegie defines Community Engagement “by essential elements that inform identities, relationships, processes, and outcomes with external partners.” Key elements are reciprocity and mutuality/mutual benefit.

An increasing number of courses include community engagement to create meaningful experiences for students, faculty, and the broader community. If you are considering including 096 Practicum as an expectation and/or option for your fall 2020 course, please be in touch with Assistant Director Eloise Grose at as soon as possible to ensure that expectations are clear for your students to be successful in their community engagement.  For fall courses, we hope to make new faculty connections by early September.  If not, SLCE staff are happy to explore collaboration in Winter 2021 and/or Spring 2021 semesters.


For potential new SLCE Partnerships:

SLCE’s vision is in alignment with UMBC’s Vision to redefine “excellence in higher education through an inclusive culture that connects innovative teaching and learning, research across disciplines, and civic engagement. We will advance knowledge, economic prosperity, and social justice by welcoming and inspiring inquisitive minds from all backgrounds.”

In early 2020, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching designated UMBC with its distinguished Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. Carnegie defines Community Engagement “by essential elements that inform identities, relationships, processes, and outcomes with external partners.” Key elements are reciprocity and mutuality/mutual benefit.

Diversity of partnerships supports the following student learning objectives for UMBC students:

  • Increase awareness of community assets and needs
  • Enhance sense of social responsibility
  • Increase ability to critically self-reflect and learn from experience
  • Increase self-confidence and self-awareness
  • Develop leadership skills
  • Increase intercultural awareness and perspective-taking
  • Strengthen interpersonal communication and collaboration
  • Enhance clarity of educational and career goals.

If you are interested in partnering with the SLCE team this semester, please contact or kasven1@umbc.eduRequests received beyond September 11th will be considered for Winter 2021 and/or Spring 2021 semesters.