At Salem State, we use the phrase critically-engaged civic learning (CECL) as an updated revision for the term "service-learning." The term service-learning is problematic as it invokes inequitable power dynamics that inherently privilege one group over another, with more privileged groups providing “service” to marginalized groups. CECL is an equity-based framework that views all constituent stakeholders (community members, community organizations, students, and educational institutions) as invested partners in the co-design, implementation, and evaluation of CECL initiatives. Founded on the redistribution of power and authority, this framework promotes civic learning and social change.
In addition to the CECL framework, the center also co-created a correlating assessment tool: The CECL Inventory for Social Change (CECL-ISC). CECL-ISC is designed to measure incremental and holistic change among stakeholders and in their communities. This instrument is unique in that it measures both student learning and the impact of CECL initiatives in the community.
The center utilizes the principles of CECL in our professional development opportunities with faculty to encourage equitable, reciprocal, and mutually beneficial partnerships with our communities. Learn more about Critically Engaged Civic Learning, our Inventory for Social Change, and other resources.