UMass CESL promotes learning for life-long, engaged citizenship, partnering with communities on and off campus to work collectively for a more just society.

Office hours: Monday – Friday 9:00 – 5:00 in 611 Goodell     Facebook Twitter

Social Justice
Engaged Citizenship
Community Partnership

Recognizing that we live in a diverse society, we strive for increasingly just relationships between individuals, groups, and social institutions, which honor the inherent value of each human being.

Working within diverse settings and groups, we engage in high impact learning— within and across academic fields, about ourselves and the world we live in, and about the work of building community and democracy.

Change toward a more just and democratic society doesn’t just happen; it depends on people stepping up as leaders of that change. We support undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and community members in developing and using leadership skills for social justice and democracy.

John Dewey said, “Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.”  We work to develop the knowledge, skills, and vision needed when people stand up as citizens of a democracy.

Effective engagement relies on strong campus/community partnerships. Real partnerships enable students, faculty, and community members to work together pursuing goals defined by each.


UMASS Amherst Campus - September 12, 2013

The UMass Amherst Sesquicentennial is an important milestone in this institution’s history.  As part of its celebration, two events related to community engaged scholarship will be brought to campus to highlight the importance and relevance of engagement—of community and of scholarship.  These topics are at the core of the land grant mission upon which UMass Amherst was founded in 1863 and will continue to shape its relationships and outcomes for the next 150 years.

Both events—the Symposium on Valuing Engagement and the Making it Work workshop—are organized by the Faculty Senate’s Outreach Council, and the continuing dialogue of many conversations with other groups including the Provost’s Committees on Service Learning and on Community Engagement.  They have been designed to enable participants—senior campus leadership, faculty, staff, students, and community partners—to engage in strategic discussions on national best practices in Community Engagement for Research, Teaching, and Service.  They also serve to convene the campus as it prepares to resubmit its application for the Carnegie Foundation’s “Community Engaged University” voluntary designation, initially awarded to the campus in 2008.

Symposium on Valuing Engagement

9am - 1pm

National community engagement experts John Saltmarsh and Tania Mitchell will work with senior campus leadership to consider the significance of community engagement in the new UMass Amherst Strategic Plan as it relates to the campus’s national reputation, internal policies and procedures, research, teaching and scholarship.

This event is by invitation. For questions pertaining to additional invitees, please contact the UMass Amherst events office at

Click here to learn more about the Symposium's speakers.

Making it Work: Community Engagement in Research, Teaching, and Service

1pm - 5pm, Cape Cod Lounge

These workshops and presentations will provide practical advice on the best ways to incorporate community engagement into research, teaching, and service. Techniques, suggestions, and strategies will be provided through:

  • National experts in dialogue with experienced faculty and community members;
  • Facilitated discussions and round tables;
  • Presentations by partners in successful community engagement projects;
  • Information about campus resources to support community engagement.

Faculty, staff, students and community partners with an interest in community engagement are encouraged to attend.

Click here to learn more about the Making it Work speakers.

Light refreshments will be served.

Symposium Sponsor

This symposium is an official event of the UMass Amherst Sesquicentennial.

Our Programs

Learn through theory and practical experience to build a more just and peaceful world.
Experience leadership and social change, connecting real experiences in the community to coursework.
Design a major that weaves together courses from a field that you care deeply about and courses from 5 Civic Engagement content areas.
Live with like-minded classmates and learn how to make a positive impact on your community!
Student-led program that partners with 11 community programs for people with disabilities!
Connect thought and actions through an alternative spring break and a student-facilitated course focusing on community organizing.


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