CEPS Frequently Asked Questions

Graduate Certificate in Community Engagement and Public Scholarship (CEPS) Frequently Asked Questions

OVERALL: TERMS AND RATIONALE

What is a graduate certificate? 
The Graduate Certificate in Community Engagement and Public Scholarship denotes successful completion of three required elements designed to expose students to key concepts in the field. It does not guarantee mastery, nor is it recorded on an academic transcript (at this point).

What is community engagement? 
Community engagement and related forms of community-based learning and scholarship take place when Notre Dame faculty and students engage partners outside of the academy in teaching, research, and learning processes that are mutually beneficial. It can include support services to education, business, non-profit organizations, government, and community groups as well as the enhancement of the academy’s knowledge base and skill set as a result of applied research. Notre Dame is recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as an engaged institution. Carnegie defines community engagement as “the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity” (2011).

What is public scholarship? 
Public scholarship refers to an academic enterprise aimed at public benefit, particularly ofa social, cultural, or economic nature. It fosters links with people such as community organizers by cultivating connections for scholarly engagement, including the dissemination of research findings beyond the academy.

Why a graduate certificate in community engagement and public scholarship? 

A CEPS certificate offers graduate and professional students the opportunity to: 

  • Learn how academic community engagement functions
  • Explore pedagogies of community-based learning
  • Envision discipline-specific community-based research
  • Have an impact on communities near and far
  • Enhance career placement potential

REQUIREMENTS

​What are the requirements for obtaining the CEPS certificate? 
The certificate requires participation in five (5) workshops, one (1) immersion, and a demonstration of integration, i.e., how engagement might serve to augment the student’sresearch, interests, and career trajectory. Among the workshops one is required—Community Engagement and Higher Education: History, Contexts, and Future. Others are chosen from an array of workshops to be offered by faculty at the Center and from across the University.

How do I register for the CEPS Certificate? 
You do not need to apply for the certificate in advance of attending workshops or participating in an immersion. However, we encourage registration early in the process so that we can learn of your interests in provide guidance relative to your discipline. Registration will be available at this site beginning fall 2015.

What cost are involved? 
There is no cost for either the workshops (even when lunch is included) or certification.Some immersions may have their own cost, but a CEPS-specific immersion would carry only a nominal fee, if any.

WORKSHOPS

What is a workshop in an academic context? 
CEPS workshops deal with a single topic or set of related issues in a short, interactive session of no more than 90 minutes (2 hours if the workshop includes lunch or dinner).They provide fundamental viewpoints, critical knowledge, and theoretical frameworks for the sake of developing the practical skills, strategies, and techniques that facilitate community engagement and public scholarship. Examples of workshops elsewhere at Notre Dame for graduate students include those offered by the Kaneb Center for Excellence in Teaching and the Graduate School’s Professional Development series, in which CEPS participates as part of the Ethics Spire.

Do I have to register for workshops in advance? 
Ordinarily, yes. Registration for workshops and any CEPS-specific immersion is handled through the Graduate School Professional Development Event registration site. It is possible to register for workshops on-site provided that there is room.

How long is a CEPS workshop? 
Workshops range from 90 minutes to 2 hours. Some may be longer depending on the topic or inclusion of lunch or dinner.

Do I need to attend all the workshops, or just the ones that pertain most to my discipline or interests? 

Workshops are your choice except for the required introductory workshop (Community Engagement and Higher Education: History, Contexts, and Future), which will be offered more often. Students are welcome to attend workshops without regard for interest in or registration for the graduate certificate itself.

What workshops are available? 
The following workshops are representative of what will be offered regularly:

  • Community Engagement and Higher Education: History, Contexts, and Future
  • Religion and Spirituality in Pedagogies of Community Engagement 
  • The Language and Methods of Community Research
  • Communities and Complexities: The Ethics of Community-based Research
  • Broader Impacts: Engaged Scholarship and the National Science Foundation
  • Public Humanities: Engaging Art, History, and Culture for the Common Good
  • Fostering Community Partnerships to Build Engagement Capacity in Higher Ed
  • Community Engagement and Student Development in Higher Ed and Beyond
  • Encountering Poverty: Moving from Stereotype to Disciplined Sensibility to Policy
  • A Career in the Academy: Engagement or Ivory Tower 

Additional workshops will be added according to graduate student interests, faculty suggestions, and developments in the field. 

IMMERSION

What is an immersion?
An immersion is a field experience of varying length that puts faculty and students in contact with people in a localized setting to examine and address alongside those people their pressing social concerns.

I have already done an immersion with the CSC—will that count? 
In all likelihood, yes. Let us know which one, and we’ll note it alongside your attendance at the workshops.

What immersions are available? 
A CEPS-specific immersion of approximately three hours will be offered each semester, and students are welcome to propose/develop their own. Other immersions offered by the Center for Social Concerns that qualify for CEPS include:

INTEGRATION

What is integration? 
The integration component emphasizes an intentional analysis of the CEPS learning experience in relation to a student’s disciplinary foci. For the purposes of CEPS, integration can be demonstrated through a presentation at a conference, a reflective essay, a digital portfolio, a professional publication, or the like.

How do I choose and organize my integration component?  Do I have an advisor or mentor during this process? 
We are happy to advise you on the integration component. Registration will trigger an interview with us in which the student proposes his or her integration component.

TIME COMMITMENT

Is there a time frame for finishing the certificate?  
You can take the full length of your graduate studies to complete the requirements for CEPS. Thus, the time frame is as long as you need and are a grad student at ND. The requirements do not need to be completed in any one semester, academic year, or calendar year.

What sequence leads to the CEPS certificate? 

  1. Attend 5 workshops in any order, including the required workshop, and register (at the website) for the Graduate Certificate beginning in the fall of 2015.
  2. Attend an immersion at any point, regardless of attendance at workshops.
  3. Propose integration component to Center for Social Concerns faculty.
  4. Submit integration component.