Promoting active citizenship through learning, research, and service.

CCE Director Holds “Living Our Civic Values” Conference

On June 1-2, Lehigh University hosted “Living our civic values: Creating inclusive, democratic spaces for learning, research, and action” facilitated by Patti H. Clayton, Ph. D. and the CCE’s Director Sarah Stanlick.  Co-hosted by Lehigh University, Northampton Community College, and Moravian College through a regional mini-grant from PA Campus Compact, the event saw attendees from colleges in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia.  The conference focused on how to employ values like collaboration, curiosity, diversity, awareness, and even bucket-filling in both our personal and professional lives.

Clayton provided four frameworks which participants used to better understand how to live their civic values.  Ranging from Palmer’s “Five Habits of the Heart that Help Make Democracy Possible” and Burke’s “Guidelines for Effective Dialogue” to the SOFAR Model and “Paradigms of Service Learning and Community Engagement”, the frameworks allowed attendees to reflect on actions at work and in their daily lives.

The conference served as an opportunity to network with faculty specializing in service learning and community engagement, as well as discuss the integration of civic values into non-traditional spaces like STEM classrooms.  With thought-provoking discussion, group activities and time to evaluate current projects individually, participants left feeling motivated to take bold steps in their own lives.

Many thanks to Patti and Sarah for putting together a fantastic event!

CCE at the UN: Mental Health and Refugees

On April 13th, President of No Lost Generation-Lehigh Katie Morris ’18 and CCE Director Dr. Sarah Stanlick presented to the  UN NGO Committee on Mental Health, Working Group on Refugee & Immigrant Mental Health.

Lehigh has had a relationship with our local resettlement agencies since 2010, through both the Global Citizenship Program and the Center for Community Engagement.  This partnership, now with Bethany Christian Services, has incorporated service-learning, documentary film creation, tutoring, fundraising, and public advocacy.

The efforts of the Lehigh team have been featured in outlets such as, and recently, Stanlick and community partner/refugee resettlement site director Marla Sell published a journal article entitled, “Beyond Superheroes and Sidekicks: Empowerment, Efficacy, and Education in Community Partnerships“.

High School Scholars Program

The Brown and White

High school students get a taste of college in Lehigh classes

Before heading off to college, local high school seniors are given the opportunity to take on-campus college classes at Lehigh, free of charge, courtesy of the Office of Academic Outreach and Lehigh Valley’s High School Scholars program.

The program gives out annual scholarships to students from Bethlehem high schools to receive college credit without taking Advanced Placement courses. Angela Scott Ferencin, the program director of the Community Education Initiative in the Center for Community Engagement and former director of the Office of Academic Outreach, has overseen this program for years.

Students are nominated by their schools to participate in this program.

“They are admissible to Lehigh and highly qualified students,” Ferencin said. “They show great promise for higher education, and show an interest in taking classes at Lehigh.”

Continue reading “High School Scholars Program”

CCE at ACE (American Council on Education)

On Sunday, March 12, Angela Scott Ferencin, Program Director of the Community Education Initiative at the CCE, served as a speaker at ACE2017, the ACE 99th annual meeting in Washington, DC. With a session title of ‘Promising Faculty Roles in Recruitment and Retention’, Angela shared the various sway that faculty involvement in student recruitment and retention could boost enrollment and improve student persistence. A wide range of approaches taken by institutions and common themes for successful faculty engagement were explored and discussed. Angela possesses over twenty-five (25) years of experience in higher education administration and management.Angela_ACE_Presentation.jpg


CCE and CSO in the Classroom: Restorative Practices

Carolina Hernandez working with Broughal MS on Restorative Practices.

On Friday, February 17th, CSO Director and CCE Associate Director Carolina Hernandez facilitated a Restorative Practices Training for Broughal Middle School (Bethlehem Area School District) teachers and administrators.  Restorative practices, a framework for building communities through conflict resolution and harm prevention, has been an increasingly valuable tool for our school systems as we seek to develop strong active citizens who can face conflict with resiliency and humility.  Carolina is an official RP trainer and was certified by the International Institute on Restorative Practices, which is right around the corner here in Bethlehem.

CCE in the News: Essay on Civics and Democracy

The Director of the Center for Community Engagement, Dr. Sarah Stanlick, published an essay on WHYY’s Speak Easy this week entitled “Myth of civics education as leftist indoctrination undermines our democracy“.  She writes: “In a democratic society, civic dialogue and civic engagement exist to illuminate tensions and negotiate a path forward to a shared vision of a better tomorrow.”

The essay is response to a recent National Association of Scholars report criticizing civic education efforts and the public purpose of higher education.  She responds,

  • “Civic engagement, by most standards, is about asking difficult questions and doing the hard work to seek common ground for better communities. Service-learning and civic engagement as a field is constantly grappling with questions around power, voice, dysfunctional rescuing, and space for differing opinions inclusive of the criticisms included in this report. These are all legitimate questions. Unfortunately, this report never gets to that sort of deep thinking, but rather focuses on denigrating all efforts for civic engagement in higher education through poor, incomplete research.

The full text is available here.

CCE Featured on Travel Ban and Refugees

In response to the proposed travel ban via executive order, the Center for Community Engagement reaffirms its commitment to support of all of our neighbors through compassionate, coordinated, and continuous partnership.  Whether it be through advocacy, standing beside our partners in ally-ship, or through engaged learning and research, we are up for the challenge ahead as we work towards a more just, equitable, and thriving world.

We were thankful to be recently featured on the exceptional global service-learning and engagement blog for our response and work with refugee populations in the Lehigh Valley.

Check out the full article and resources here.

CCE in the News: Civic Hacking and Mountaintop

This summer, the Center for Community Engagement partnered with the Mountaintop Initiative to host a series of projects under the umbrella of CivLab.  CivLab was a set of student-led, inquiry-based projects with the thread of community and civic engagement running through each.  This article in the College of Education’s magazine Theory to Practice highlighted the civic hacking and social change project.  Five undergraduates and one graduate student explored the issues of food access and security in the neighborhood around the university as part of Lehigh’s Mountaintop initiative, which allows students to independently explore open-ended questions and try to implement sustainable change.

Read more about the initiative here.

In the wake of a violent week, thoughts from the CCE’s Director

Speechless, but not powerless: in times of confusion, fear, and sadness, we seek the strength, skills, and respect for each other to build stronger communities where all of our citizens are celebrated and included… and can thrive and grow up, old, wise, and in the light of love and respect.

Community engagement is one way to work towards that vision of a better future. The thing that keeps us hopeful are the MANY friends in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, PRIDE Center, Community Service Office, Women’s Center, Literature and Social Justice (English), Africana Studies, the Council for Equity and Community – to name but a few – who are engaging us in discussions and pushing us to be a better version of ourselves. There exist strong voices on campus constantly thinking critically and challenging injustices. This gives us a small glimmer of hope through these waves of sadness.

And we know that this work is not easy and not everyone feels included in inclusion. It’s daunting. It’s hard. It makes us have to confront things that we might not like about ourselves or our society, and some can be paralyzed from having the discussion because they simply do not know how and worry a misstep will reveal their ignorance. Yet, most of us have a feeling that we need to and can move forward to a just world, and are unsure how.

For those who seek that way forward, but are uncertain how to begin, Parker Palmer’s tools from “Healing the Heart of Democracy” are a great start. He outlines 5 habits for each of us to cultivate to challenge, question, listen, learn, grow, and appreciate. When such habits become our second nature, the world and our communities will mirror those ideals. There’s no better day than today to start. – SES

NOTE: This was originally posted to our Facebook page on 07.08.16.