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Spring 2021 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 continue to be in place.

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 semester, 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 later in 2021, while others have continued in new ways. For the most updated list and status, review our Service Chart

  • 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).


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 (EX: WebEx) to discuss options, finalize service site, and review the 096 Syllabus. Our 2021 Winter and/or Spring Syllabi are not yet available, but you can view the Spring 2021 096 Practicum syllabus. 


There are a few ways to connect with the Service-Learning & Community Engagement Team. Below, you will see each staff listed and their respective liaison sites.

  1. Reach out to our Virtual Lobby and meet virtually with a Shriver Center staff during drop-in hours M-Thursday, 10am-12pm, 2-5pm, Fridays, 10am-2pm.,
  2. Visit appointment calendars to see if something matches your schedule.
  3. Email staff directly.

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 in Spring 2021?

This course is offered in the Spring semester 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.  When the Spring 2021 syllabus is available, we’ll post it below.  Review the Fall Syllabus for a general sense of the course. Please see the directions above.

Service Chart

Spring 2021 SOCY 396 

Spring 2021 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 Winter or Spring 2021 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 Winter or Spring 2021 spring courses, we hope to make new faculty connections by early January.  If not, SLCE staff are happy to explore future collaboration in Summer 2021 or Fall 2021.


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 late January 2021 will be considered for Summer 2021.