Getting Started Teaching an ACE Course

How is civic engagement valuable to students?

  • The Case for ACE – Research on the value of civic engagement as a high-impact teaching practice, for supporting a diverse student body, for developing skills employers value, for building content knowledge, and for contributing to civic life.
  • You might also watch this video, created by Allyvia Garza, Solveig Hanes, Gabriel Marinho, and Christian Schlaefer as their ACE project in Sian Christie’s “Organizational Storytelling” course, Fall 2019, to hear from them how to ACE can be valuable.

How do I integrate academic civic engagement into my course?

The Academic Civic Engagement Program provides individualized consultations with faculty interested in adding an ACE component to a course.  In general, setting up an ACE component the first time it is offered is the most time-consuming step and therefore, it is recommended that planning begin 3-5 months ahead of time, depending on the complexity of the project.  One reason for advance planning is to allow for coordination with community partner organizations, who may need to adjust their schedules or plan for supervision of students in order to participate.  The following worksheet introduces things to think about as you begin designing an ACE project.

How do I officially designate a class as “ACE”?

The decision is up to each individual instructor as determined by guidelines established by the Academic Civic Engagement Advisory Committee. For guidelines on what constitutes an ACE course and instructions for how to make this designation, please read the document, ACE Designation for Classes (pdf).  Including text in ACE course syllabi to define and describe these activities will help students engage more effectively with off-campus and on-campus entities by raising their awareness of academic civic engagement terminology, aims, learning objectives and best practices. For suggestions, see the following guide, Suggested Text for ACE Class Syllabi (pdf).

What support is available ACE teaching and research?

The ACE Program offers one-on-one consulting to help you identify community partners, manage logistics, design and set up the ACE project, and learn about best practices.  We offer funding for implementation of ACE courses, for teaching assistants, and for professional travel.  In addition, we offer in-class orientations for students and assistance with completing their ACE projects.

How do I know if what I’m doing is working?

  • Assessment resources from Campus Compact – A collection of assessment resources specifically for civic engagement.  Scroll down the page to the heading, “Select Evaluation Resources,” for a comprehensive set of links.
  • Assessment resources from SERC – While designed for a geoscience audience, this set of resources is broadly applicable across the curriculum.  Topics addressed include: “What is Assessment?”  “Why is Assessment Important?” “How to Use an Assortment of Assessment Strategies”, and “Examples of Assessment in Various Learning Settings.”  The How to Use an Assortment of Assessment Strategies page explains how to use a variety of strategies including rubrics, ConceptMaps, ConcepTests, evaluating cooperative learning, knowledge surveys, exams, portfolios, and more.

Where do I find more resources for ACE teaching and public scholarship?

What faculty development opportunities are available?

  • Workshops – Links to upcoming events sponsored at St. Olaf.   On the workshop pages, find resources such as presentation slides and handouts for past professional development workshops.

Whom should I contact to get help?