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Students New Role in Community-Engaged Learning

Pictured Above: CELTAs Adrienne Dodd and Ben Galindo, help manage Southwestern’s community garden

CELTAs, or Community-Engaged Learning Teaching Assistants, are students who support the civic engagement pedagogy that is strongly applied at Southwestern by supporting a faculty member involved in community-engaged learning.

They participate in ongoing training and reflection sessions, developing skills in project management by locating appropriate community partnerships for the course in which they are involved. CELTA responsibilities include: monitoring student service hours and activities, nurturing community partnership(s), regularly communicating with faculty and community organizations, and coordination, evaluation and assessment of community organizations, students and faculty.

Sarah Brackmann, director of civic engagement and CELTA supervisor, says “Part of my vision for students at Southwestern is for them to be able to actively participate in community-engaged learning while thinking deeply about their academic courses.”

“Part of my vision for students at Southwestern is for them to be able to actively participate in community engaged learning while thinking deeply about their academic courses.”Sarah Brackmann

Brackmann has been the CELTA supervisor since 2012 and believes that this work study “adds community-engaged learning to courses in a way that is beneficial to both the student and the professor.”

There are currently five CELTAs working together with Southwestern professors in order to support and evaluate assessing community needs. Adrienne Dodd, Ben Galindo, Brooke Taylor, Alex Detmar and Julia Sykorawork work to support different aspects of community engaged learning, from managing Southwestern’s community garden to aiding in developing the Global Health Paideia cluster.

Kathyrn Reagan, a junior majoring in computer science and minoring in math, was a CELTA during both fall and spring semesters of her sophomore year. “It was an experience that truly enriched my time at Southwestern; it helped me to grow as a student and as a member of the community, and even led me to the research I am involved in now. I strongly recommend being a CELTA to other students,” she says.

Students interested in applying for a CELTA position should contact Sarah Brackmann at brackmas@southwestern.edu.

Story by Daniella A. Barrera, Class of 2016

Photography by Carlos Barron Jr. ’10

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