UMass Boston

Community Engaged Teaching Modules

CESI has six online modules:

  1. Theories
  2. Logistics
  3. Partnerships
  4. Student Capacity
  5. Learning Outcomes
  6. Reflection

CESI was established in 2012 with a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. 

Questions? Please contact:

Camille Martinez, Office for Faculty Development, at


Theoretical Framework



  • Resources
    • Currents in Teaching and Learning: This peer-reviewed electronic journal fosters exchanges among reflective teacher-scholars across the disciplines with the goal of improving teaching and learning in higher education through short reports on classroom practices and longer research or conceptual articles. This is a great resource to explore topics in greater depth and to support your own reflective practice as you embark on the process of designing a civic-engaged course. 
    • Civic PromptsThis resource provides a series of prompts to support faculty and departments with effectively embedding civic learning into courses and programs.
  • Readings
    • Changing Pedagogies (2015): John Saltmarsh develops a thorough understanding of engaged pedagogies and the implications of changed pedagogies for students, community partners, faculty and the overall institution.
    • Crucible Moment (2012):  Commissioned by the Department of Education and released at a White House convening in January 2012, this report from the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement calls on the nation to reclaim higher education’s civic mission.
    • The Centrality of Engagement (2012): This article discusses the changing pressures on higher education and positions community engagement as a critical component within all aspects of today’s university.


Logistical Considerations

Risk Management


  • Resources:
    • Collaborative Planning Guide for Engaged Scholarship: Part III: This is a practical resource that poses logistical questions to grapple with and suggestions for effectively designing your syllabus, from the University of California’s Faculty Toolkit.
    • A Resource Guide for Managing Risk in Service Learning:  From the California State University’s Center for Community Engagement, this comprehensive resource includes templates for partner site visits, partner agreements, student orientation checklists, and student learning plans.
    • Syllabus Example: Pediatric Exercise:  Sarah Camhi is a faculty member in the Department of Exercise and Health Sciences. The syllabus she created for this service learning course clearly articulates the community component of the course in several sections including in the course objectives, teaching strategies, grading, and in the course schedule.


Partnerships as a Process

Best Practice


Student Capacity

Student Leadership Theory

Student Leadership in Practice


Learning Outcomes


The GOSA Worksheet

  • GOSA Worksheet Template: The CESI team created this worksheet based on the term GOSA which represents the process of aligning goals, outcomes, strategies, and assessment. It is intended to be a flexible and we encourage you to adapt it as you work through the presentations in the Outcomes Module. Through the multi-tab worksheet, the template provides structure for you to develop academic and civic learning outcomes, brainstorm strategies and forms of assessment, and then map out your assignments and strategies so that you can visually see how you are meeting your learning outcomes.
  • GOSA Worksheet Example: Based on Dr. Lila Staples’s 2006 syllabus at California State University, Monterey Bay, this is an adapted example originally sourced from pages 140-143 in Developing Outcomes-based Assessment for Learner-centered Education by Amy Driscoll and Swarup Wood. The CESI team also retained an original copy of Dr. Staple’s syllabus.


  • Resources
    • Michigan Journal of Community Service-Learning:  This is a key resource that is widely used. The workbook is particularly useful for establishing learning outcomes. Check out the matrix of civic learning objectives on page 44.
    • Bloom Overview:  This is a quick overview of Bloom’s Taxonomy across the three domains. It includes visual charts to facilitate a quick review of this content.
    • Bloom’s Taxonomy – Action Verbs:  This is one of many charts that exists with recommended verbs for each of the levels in Bloom’s Taxonomy. It is a great resource to use as you determine learning outcomes and assess the level of mastery you expect students to achieve.
    • Student Learning Outcomes: This 2 page primer distinguishes between objectives and outcomes and provides a set of sample learning outcomes across several disciplines.
    • Student Civic Learning Outcomes:  From Tufts University, this is another sample breakdown of civic learning outcomes across the domains of knowledge, skills, and values. It also provides examples.
    • Options for Students Products:  A great way to ensure that your learning strategies support diverse learners is to provide students with a choice of the types of products they submit for summative assessment. This is an example from a faculty member’s syllabus cited in a wonderful book, Developing Outcomes-based Assessment for Learner-Centered Education.
    • Using Group Projects Effectively: This is an excellent one-stop shop filled with resources, templates, and creative recommendations for designing, implementing, and assessing group projects, from the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University.
    • Division of Labor Expectations: UMass Boston professor, Alan Christian, shared this resource that he uses to communicate expectations to students for group work. It also provides a formal process that students can use to mediate an issue or even fire a student.
    • Peer Evaluation Template:  Another resource shared by UMass Boston professor, Alan Christian, this template offers a structured mechanism for building peer evaluation into group assignments.
    • Group Work Roles:  This is one of several resources that outlines various roles that can be assigned, delegated, or rotated to students in order to provide structure and facilitate a high level of collaboration for group projects.
    • Collaborative Planning Guide for Engaged Scholarship: Part V:  This is a practical resource that poses questions for assessing student learning, partnerships, and engaged scholarship, from the University of California’s Faculty Toolkit.
    • VALUE Rubrics:  This set of 16 rubrics includes a specific rubric for civic engagement as well as others that cut across relevant competency areas such as critical thinking and intercultural knowledge and competence. As part of AAC&U’s Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative, the VALUE rubrics contribute to the national dialogue on assessment of college student learning. For more information, visit:
    • The Lumina Foundation’s Degree Qualifications Profile Project: A Focus on Civic Learning by Illinois College: This is a handbook of assessment worksheets and rubrics. For their program, they established six learning outcomes by adapting the VALUE rubrics that were most relevant. This is a great resource that illustrates how you might use a similar model to adapt the VALUE rubrics for your course or program accordingly.
  • Readings
    • Core Competencies in Civic Engagement:  This is an excellent synthesis of the key civic learning outcomes present in three areas, including a review of the literature, national reports, and academic programs.