The Community Education Concentration is open to students pursuing the BA in Education and the MA in Education at the campus in Plainfield, Vermont, or the educational site in Seattle, Washington. This concentration is appropriate for both skilled practitioners and those interested in pursuing study in the field of community education. Goddard recognizes each student’s community as a learning laboratory. The Community Education Concentration seeks to legitimize the skills and knowledge students acquire through working in communities. Students pursuing this concentration use their worksite experience to produce a relevant and meaningful program of study rooted in theory, expanded through practice, and focused on personal and professional educational goals. This concentration is not appropriate for students seeking Vermont educator credential.

What is community education?

Community educators engage community’s unique resources to develop just, vital, resilient places in which all its citizens thrive. These educator/scholars build individual and collective community capacity to deal with complex social issues of justice and equality, and they employ critical practices of participatory process and democratic change. As collaborators, community educators understand the power of partnership in developing vibrant, thriving, sustainable communities. These practices are deeply rooted in community education process, theory, and philosophy. Within this process lies the potential for collective and individual reflection and articulation of what matters most to individuals and to communities.

Through the Community Education Concentration, students engage in a profound exploration of their professional relationships to community while unveiling the wise and powerful voice within each individual.

Community education field study

All studies in Community Education are based on study in the field. For undergraduates, field study often involves learning about community work through participating in an established organization. Students at the graduate level are often in community leadership positions.

The Field Study is integrated into the study plan as a whole. By using the community as a learning laboratory, the student will gain skills, knowledge and understanding, and will reflect on them in the Field Study journal. Five credits per semester will be awarded for the undergraduate Field Study, and four credits per semester will be awarded for the graduate Field Study.

Students are responsible for finding their own field study placements. Most students in Community Education are already working or volunteering in the field. Faculty advisors may help the student design the field study, if the student needs assistance.

Degree Criteria for a BA in Education

Students graduating with a concentration in Community Education will successfully complete 45 undergraduate level credits and complete a Field Study and Field Study Journal and a Community Education Portfolio.

Field study and field study journal

Students conduct study or studies in the field for a minimum of 15 credits over three semesters. Field Studies may be in one particular site or may take place in various sites. The Field Study Journal reflects the skills, knowledge and understanding gained in the field as a practitioner of Community Education. The Field Study Journal can be submitted in one of three ways:

  1. As one individual packet for three credits per semester
  2. Integrated within the evidence of learning within the packet
  3. As an addendum to each packet of the semester.

Community education portfolio

Students complete a CE Portfolio as documentation of how the criteria of the concentration have been met. The Portfolio consists of a checklist of the criteria and links to documents, products produced including brochures, videos, etc. that demonstrate evidence of learning. The completed Portfolio is presented for review to the faculty advisor before the graduation residency.

Senior study

Each student is required to produce a culminating project in the form of a Senior Study in an area of Community Education that integrates theory, practice and Field Study. Undergraduate students are awarded 15 credits for the Senior Study.

Degree Criteria for a MA in Education

Students graduating with a concentration in Community Education will successfully complete 36 graduate level credits and complete the following:

Field study and field study journal

Students conduct study or studies in the field for a minimum of 12 credits over three semesters. Field Studies may be in one particular site or may be in various diverse sites. The Field Study Journal reflects the skills, knowledge and understanding gained in the field as a practitioner of community education. The Field Study Journal can be submitted in one of three ways:

  1. As one individual packet for three credits per semester
  2. Integrated within the evidence of learning within the packet
  3. As an addendum to each packet of the semester

Community education portfolio

Students complete a CE Portfolio as documentation of how the criteria of the concentration have been met. The Portfolio consists of a checklist of the criteria and links to documents and products produced including brochures, videos, etc. that demonstrate evidence of learning. The completed Portfolio is presented for review to the faculty advisor before the graduation residency.

Master’s thesis

Each student is required to produce a master’s thesis, which includes formulation of a significant question/s, application of methods of inquiry, identification and utilization of learning resources, interpretation of ideas, and integration and application of theory and practice.

 

Sample areas of study

Each residency, students develop individualized study plans for the semester with their faculty advisors. The study plan may be individually designed by the student to meet her or his particular interests in Community Education, or the student may include one or more of the following areas of study:

  • Family Involvement and Engagement: Explore policies and practices supporting effective ways to support family involvement in children’s learning and development.
  • Out-of-the-School Day Learning: Students re-search trends, opportunities and challenges in out-of-school day out-of-the-school building learning, and apply and reflect on their learning in field work experiences.
  • Community-based Learning: Powerful learning can happen in community-based environments. Research best practices and applied learning in service learning, place-based learning and other community-based strategies.
  • Partnership and Collaboration: Partnerships are critical for sustainability and development of programs that are authentically rooted in community. Collaborating with partners and stakeholders from across sectors presents its own set of rewards and challenges. Areas of research and practice may include developing advisory boards, working with school/community partnerships, engaging youth in youth/adult led initiatives, and more.
  • Community Education Process and Philosophy: Community Education has historical underpinnings rooted in a philosophy of community empowerment and equitable access to education. From the Danish folk school movement to the Highlander Research Center to the Occupy movement, community education has been an essential strategy for moving forward critical social change.
  • Leadership for Social Justice: Students explore how individuals and groups connect, organize, think systemically, bridge and learn as part of a dynamic leadership process that mobilizes action on the scale needed to address social justice.
  • Creating Space for Social Change: Students learn about leadership strategies for holding community conversations around difficult issues.
  • Restorative Justice: Restorative justice is an approach in which both the offender’s and victim’s needs and looks at the responsibility and involvement of the whole community in supporting restoration. Students research current trends and best practices in restorative justice.
  • Power of Youth Voice: Critical social movements and initiatives around the world are being launched by youth empowered voices.