We are pleased to share the Michigan State University (MSU) community-engaged learning data and stories from the 2019-2020 academic year in this edition of the MSU Community-Engaged Learning Index. These stories and data are particularly compelling given the circumstances that were presented during the timeframe of this report.
The 2019 fall semester began like so many previous academic years. Students returned to campus to study, learn, serve, and engage. The Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) was prepared to help students, staff, faculty, and community partners continue growing community-engaged learning at MSU. As is our tradition, CCEL supported efforts by hosting gatherings for community partners, a volunteer service fair, many training sessions and workshops for students, and a new special topics series for faculty.
MSU transitioned to the 2020 spring semester as in any typical academic year, but as we are all aware, the semester became anything but typical. To say that the 2019-2020 academic year was challenging would be an inconceivable understatement. Our society continues to struggle with the health and economic disasters caused by the global pandemic as well as racial inequality and a disruptive political climate.
From the faculty and students in our MSU medical colleges who quickly pivoted to safely and effectively treat individuals and families affected by the COVID 19 virus to the community partners and schools who adapted learning environments to virtual formats, we all reached beyond our previous capacity, expertise, and commitment to find new methods to work together and support one another. This edition of the MSU Community-Engaged Learning Index is filled with inspirational stories that detail the innovation and compassion of partners dedicated to the health and vitality of communities.
Please join us in reflecting on and learning from this tumultuous time in our history by reading the stories of our community. We hope that you will be encouraged by the brave, tireless efforts of faculty, staff, community partners, and students, and will join us in continuing to build a culture of community engagement at MSU!
Director, Center for Community
Allyn R. Shaw
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Services
Laurie Van Egeren
Interim Associate Provost for University Outreach and Engagement