The grant program will further opportunities for high-impact experiential learning for first-generation, pell grant eligible and underrepresented students.
By Jenny Pedraza, APR
The Center for Community Engagement and Impact (CEI), in collaboration with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and VCU REAL has announced a new grant program for VCU faculty and staff to incorporate community-engaged research (CEnR) experiences into pre-existing undergraduate courses or co-curricular experiential learning opportunities.
The Community-Engaged Research Impact Grants will build capacity for high quality, high-impact pedagogical and research practices that meets the needs of students, faculty, staff and the community while enhancing the impact of existing community-based research in the priority areas of health equity, education equity, racial justice and economic justice.
Recipients of the grant will each receive $1,500 to create innovative teaching method(s) and an evaluation tool during Summer 2021, with implementation and evaluation in Fall 2021. Methods include exposure to CEnR and/or experience with CEnR at the undergraduate level – in the classroom and during co-curriculars.
Amanda Hall, Ph.D., director of community-engaged research and special projects in CEI, said the grant program aims to increase representation in exposure to and experience in high-impact experiential learning for undergraduate students, especially for first generation, pell grant eligible and underrepresented minoritized students; expand community-engagement focused academic development opportunities for faculty and staff, especially junior and underrepresented faculty; and further recognize community partners in CEnR as co-educators/co-researchers.
Herbert Hill, director of undergraduate research and creative inquiry in the Office of Academic Affairs, said the CEnR Impact Grant program reflects one of the core pillars of high impact experiential learning.
“This is active learning at its best, in which students engage with questions and problems and oftentimes learn by persisting through experimentation and trial and error,” Hill said. “This reality pushes students out of their comfort zone and into the real world where we must confront setbacks and false starts in our search for new knowledge.”
The VCU Center for Community Engagement and Impact provides expertise for high-quality community engagement while leveraging university resources to address critical community-identified needs. The center is VCU’s central hub to convene and coordinate authentic community-university partnerships that strengthen research, student learning and faculty success.