International Studies & Programs


Global Community-Engaged Learning Best Practices


2019 Global Community-Engaged
Learning Best Practices

Michigan State University's Office for Education Abroad partnered with Adanu, a Ghanaian-led nonprofit organization, and hosted the 2019 Global Community-Engaged Learning Symposium in Ho, Ghana. From June 24th-29th 2019, participants from the United States, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Uganda and Kenya discussed best practices of community-engaged learning.

The symposium included keynote speakers, workshops, poster presentations, panels and field trips to the Ghanaian community partners. Keynotes and workshops from the symposium were divided into the following themes:

Community-Engaged Learning

  • Course design
  • Ethical engagement
  • Assessment and evaluation.

Some of the best practices for community-engaged learning from the various symposium activities are shared under each theme's additional resources.

An additional version of the Global Community-Engaged Learning Best Practices is available on Issuu.


Theme One: Course Design

Theme one, community-engaged learning course design, is instrumental for planning communty-engaged learning experiences. Theme one is based on the following course design elements: program type, academic framework, duration, community partnership and assessment.

Included in theme one are course design elements, approaches, models and two community-engaged learning examples, Ghana's University for Development Studies' Third Trimester Field Practical Programme and The University of Indianapolis's nursing and global languages project based learning courses.

Theme one is composed of the following keynotes and workshops:

  • Selecting and Identifying with Communities: Social Responsibilities by Kaku Sagary Nokoe, Ph. D
  • Quality Components of Community Engaged Learning: iPERCED by Nicole Springer
  • On-Campus Preparation, Investigation, and Reflection: Curriculum Integration and Advancing Critical Global Citizenship by Eric Hartman, Ph. D.
  • Community Engaged Learning: Applying IPE and PBL to Increase 21st Century Skills by Denise Ferrell, DNP, R.N.


Theme Two: Ethical Engagement

Ethical engagement is an essential component of the planning and execution of community-engaged learning. Engagement can be defined by active participation, whether it's communication, service-learning or simply paying attention. Ethical engagement is active participation that aims to minimize harm by considering cultural values, practices and perspectives. It is engagement where the community is put first and actively involved. Power and privilege dynamics, cultures and the relationship with community partners all influence the success of ethical engagement.

Theme two, ethical engagement will dive deep into the practices and foundation of quality and mindful engagement. Theme two is composed of the following keynote and workshops:

  • Inclusive Leadership for International Education by Nicole Webster, Ph. D.
  • Social Justice by Kiesha Warren-Gordon, Ph. D.
  • Preparing for engagement: Orientation for students, faculty, host families and community partners by Diane Doberneck, Ph. D.


Theme Three: Assessment and Evaluation

Theme three, assessment and evaluation, unravels what is often deemed the "last" aspect of a community-engaged learning experience. Assessment and evaluation allow facilitators to learn the impact of their presence and creates learning opportunities for all. Theme three showcases two experiences of assessing community-engaged learning through engineering partnerships in Waslala, Nicaragua and Michigan State University's Alliance for African Partnership and external assessment resources.

Theme three is composed of the two keynotes:

  • Global Community-Engaged Learning Program Assessment and Evaluation by Nora Reynolds, Ph.D.
  • Strategies for Connecting US/Africa Higher Institutions in the Field of Community-Engaged Learning by Jamie Monson, Ph.D.

Presenter's Contact Information

  • Denise Ferrell, DNP, RN, Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Public Service and Director for Diversity & Inclusion, College of Nursing, Michigan State University, USA
  • Diane Doberneck, Ph.D., Director for Faculty and Professional Development, University Outreach and Engagement, Michigan State University, USA, 
  • Eric Hartman, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Peace and Global Citizenship and Editor for Community-based Global Learning Collaborative, Haverford College, USA
  • Jamie Monson, Ph.D., Director, African Studies Center, Professor, Department of History, Michigan State University, USA
  • Kaku Sagary Nokoe, Ph.D.,Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, The Catholic University of Eastern African, Kenya 
  • Kiesha Warren-Gordon, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Ball State University, USA
  • Nicole Springer, Director, Campus Compact for Michigan, USA, 
  • Nicole Webster, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Youth and Development, Co-Director, 2le Center for Collaborative Engagement, Pennsylvania State University, USA
  • Nora Reynolds, Ph.D., Director, Community-based Global Learning Collaborative, Fellow of Ethical Global Learning, Haverford College, USA