Margaret Sheridan ‘67 Community-Learning Course and Research Grants


Connecticut College faculty have developed and implemented community-learning courses and research projects in several departments including Botany, Human Development, Dance, Economics, Education, English, Government, History, Hispanic studies, Music, Physics, Psychology, Religion, Theater and Sociology. To further strengthen the College’s curricular commitment to community-learning as an important component of a liberal arts education, the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy will support the work of faculty to introduce community-learning into existing courses, redesign existing community-learning courses, and to develop new courses. The Holleran Center will also support community-based research in areas of social justice concerns such as economic opportunity, health and wellness, the environment, K-12 education, youth development, and art/culture/public space. Community-learning takes many forms, including internships, action research, courses with required service components, and more. The common denominator is the deliberate linking of community partnerships, academic study, and structured reflection.


The Holleran Center will award grants of up to $1,500 to assist individual faculty members with the development of a new course or research project and up to $1,000 for a revised course or research project; and an additional $500 is available for student assistants or community partners.


All new courses will need to be approved by AAPC before full funding can be awarded. Partial funding for course development can be awarded prior to this approval. All research projects must be approved by the Institutional Review Board or deemed exempt by the IRB before funding can be awarded. The Center and the Office of Community Partnerships have resources that can assist in the development and implementation of community learning courses and research, including, contacts, ongoing programs, information on best practices in community learning, and transportation. Reviews will be conducted by a committee appointed by the Holleran Center. Center staff will be available to assist faculty members to develop projects for potential funding. Proposals must address the application criteria for Community-Learning Courses or Research Proposals (see page 2). All proposals must also include a 1-page budget with specific expenses (e.g., stipend, supplies, research costs, student wages, etc.) and a brief rationale for each.

All recipients of grants will be required to present their courses or research to the larger college community and participate in 2 small-group sessions on community learning. End of project reports are due by 6/15/19 if funded in Round 1 or by 11/15/19 if funded in Round 2. Reports should be 1-2 pages and should refer back to original aims/objectives of the grant as well as plans for best practices, explain how the funds were used, how the project progressed, what was accomplished, and how outcomes of the project have been evaluated. Priority for funding in 2018-2019 will be given to faculty who are participating in the 2018-2019 community learning and engaged scholarship seminar being offered by the Holleran Center.


Thanks to a generous gift from Christine Letts ’70, this year we are able to support two calls for proposals. Proposals are due by July 15 (Round 1) or December 1 (Round 2) in the Holleran Center Office or e-mailed to Awards will be announced by August 15 or January 1, respectively.

Community-Learning Courses

Community-learning courses can be developed in every discipline and an intended outcome of this grant initiative is to expand the number of departments at Connecticut College that offer community-learning courses. Proposals in the arts, humanities and sciences are particularly encouraged, as are interdisciplinary and/or team taught courses. Additionally, two separate courses that share a common community learning experience are also encouraged. In addition to the criteria specified below, the proposal should provide a clear rationale for a team teaching or collaborative approach, as well as a statement about the staffing impact on departmental offerings. The department chair(s) should acknowledge that the revised or new course will be accepted by the department. Preference will be given to courses offered on a continuing basis; substantive changes are expected in existing courses. Proposals and Evaluation: Proposals, five pages maximum, should outline proposed revisions of an existing course or description of the new course. The type and nature of the community-learning placement, project, or activity, and relation of the community engagement to course content should be described. The proposal should also include a description of the outcomes expected for students and the community. The review committee will evaluate the proposals based on the following criteria:

  • What is the community-learning experience?
  • What will be the positive impact on our curriculum (for your department/program/pathway/etc. and for the college)?
  • How well is the community-learning integrated into the course content and are there opportunities for reflection (e.g., oral presentations, classroom discussion, journaling)?
  • How well does the proposal reflect the principles of good practice in community-based learning?
  • What are the expected outcomes for the student and community and how will these be assessed?


Community-Learning Research

Community-learning research can be developed in every discipline and an extended outcome of this grant initiative is to expand the number of departments at Connecticut College that partner with a community organization to conduct research. Proposals in the sciences, arts, and humanities are particularly encouraged, as are interdisciplinary research efforts. Proposals and Evaluation: Proposals, five pages maximum, should outline the community challenge to be studied and a brief description of previous research that has examined this issue. The design of the proposed research should be specified, including hypotheses and methodology. You should describe your partnership with a community organization and the implications of the research findings for the community/community organization and for your discipline of study. An indication of how you will disseminate your research findings to community members who have partnered in the project should also be included. Priority will be given to research with New London community partners, but if funds are available research in other communities will be considered. The committee selecting the proposals will evaluate the proposals on the following criteria:

  • What will be the positive impact of the proposed research for the partner community?
  • How will results be shared with the community partner or community members?
  • How will this research advance faculty scholarship and professional development?
  • How will this project offer positive learning experiences for Connecticut College students?
  • What capacity does the project have to continue and expand over time?
  • How will student researchers (if applicable) be trained in research ethics and the ethics of community engagement?
  • How well does the proposal reflect the principles of good practice in community-based research?