The Office of Community and Civic Engagement acts as a resource for the community and facilitates stronger connections between Coe and the Greater Cedar Rapids Area.
We help community members and organizations access Coe resources such as space, information, interested and engaged volunteers, journals and conferences.
We also act as a resource for Coe students, faculty, and staff. We create connections between students, classes or departments, and community organizations with whom they could build a reciprocal working relationship. We let students know about resources available to them in the community, advertise events and volunteer opportunities and connect students/classes with organizations from which they could learn more about their chosen subject/career path while meeting a community need.
We advise student groups, hold events on campus, track campus volunteering and donations and keep the college informed of needs, opportunities, and successes through our newsletter and social media!
Dr. Patti Clayton, well-known Service-Learning Scholar wrote "The Power of Little Words" emphasizing the importance of the word "with" when considering the creation of community partnerships. Our office focuses on creating opportunities "with" community partners regardless of who they may be. Staff practice what has been termed "withness" or working in tandem with (as opposed to “doing to”) a particular partner.
For example, we may become aware of a particular need within a community or of a particular faculty member. Instead of formulating the course and having preconceived notions of what needs to occur within that course, community partners are invited to meet with faculty and our staff to discuss the opportunities for collaboration. Often, it is at these initial meetings that new ideas are generated and even better service-learning experiences emerge.
The development of service-learning classes at Coe is a collaborative, interactive process which, when done with purpose, creates measurable learning outcomes for all parties.
Meet The Staff
Director of Community and Civic Engagement
Laura Van Buer
Coordinator of Community & Civic Engagement