Loyola University Maryland

Center for Community, Service, and Justice

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Community-Engaged Learning and Scholarship

Continuing Community-Engaged Learning and Scholarship during the COVID-19 outbreak

Updated November 2020

During this challenging time, CCSJ will provide the latest information regarding Loyola’s community-engaged learning and scholarship on this page. The university policy outlined below is now in effect through the spring semester 2021:

For the safety of our Loyola and Baltimore communities, Loyola-sponsored in-person service-learning and/or volunteering is not permitted without (1) specific approval through Loyola CCSJ and (2) only with organizations with whom CCSJ has an up-to-date memorandum of understanding to include policies and procedures in place for COVID safety, social distancing, and contact tracing (as well as standard Loyola-required polices for bias reporting, Clery Act, and Title IX reporting).  CCSJ may also require trainings for any service - virtually or in-person - with at-risk populations.

For continuity of community-engaged academic courses, student learning outcomes, and partnership expectations, all faculty have been directed by CCSJ to engage in virtual service or e-service-learning.

Students living off campus may choose individually to volunteer in person, as long as it is not affiliated with Loyola, a course, or university-sponsored organization, such as a club.  All students must still make sure they are following city and state guidelines and restrictions, adhering to social distancing protocols, wearing face coverings, and noting with whom they interact for contact tracing purposes.


To support our community-centered approach to partnership, CCSJ staff have been and will continue to regularly communicate with community partners through email correspondence and phone conversations. 

Like Loyola, our community partners are facing difficult challenges as they adjust to serving our communities amidst changing public health policies.  

On March 11, 2020, CCSJ contacted all current community partners and provided a Community Feedback Survey to streamline communication. CCSJ will maintain this survey; please share this link: https://loyola.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6Ez691WAgQjUSl7 with your partners. This survey asks how Loyola might offer collaborative support now and in the next few weeks and months. We will pass along updates of community needs so that you and your students might address these needs virtually.   

Please visit our list of urgent needs from community partners to learn more about how you can support today.

As we collect this information, please also consider the following steps to support your on-going efforts for online community-engaged learning and service. We have gathered these recommendations and resources from our global network of community-engaged practitioners, and they represent best practices. Please always follow the CDC’s, the local authority’s, and the university’s latest guidelines. 

What You Can Do

1. Stay connected.

Touch base with CCSJ to understand how your community partner is seeking support. Touch base with your community partner to let them know that you are thinking of them. 

  • Please consider your partner’s needs and priorities first and anticipate potential delays in responses. Be mindful of ways to avoid adding to your partner’s workload. 
  • Based on your community partner’s needs, brainstorm with students to see if virtual service or project-based work is needed and possible.  For example, some of our partners are aiming to move their tutoring projects online, others need database and research support.

Communicate with and support your students.

  • Let your students know that they will not be expected to complete service hours if service is not possible or needed.
  • Be prepared to adjust your service to meeting the learning outcomes of your class through other types of community-engaged work (see below).

Contact us if you have questions or concerns.

Check the CCSJ website and social media accounts for the latest updates. 

2. Plan for the future. 

Review the following resources for ideas for online community-engaged learning. 

Please contact Rosemary F. Riel, Assistant Director of Academic Engagement, with your questions, concerns, additional e-resources and ideas for sharing with our Loyola community-engaged colleagues.


Community and civic engagement is central to the Jesuit educational mission and Loyola’s commitment to transformative student learning. CCSJ works in partnership with Academic Affairs to help faculty and students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels connect academic endeavors with community goals in mutually beneficial partnerships.

What is Community Engagement?
According to the Carnegie Foundation for Teaching and Learning, community engagement describes the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. Reciprocal engagement partners college and university knowledge and resources with public and private sector knowledge and experience to enrich scholarship, research, teaching and creative activity; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.

Community-engaged learning and scholarship can include a range of academic community engagement, including service-learning, community-engaged research, course-based group service, and advocacy projects. We also offer internal funding programs and faculty development opportunities, which are reviewed and approved by the faculty and community members of the Committee on Engaged Scholarship.

To learn more, contact Dr. Allen Brizee, Faculty Director for Community-Engaged Learning and Scholarship, or email CELS@loyola.edu.

Volunteers Reading With Guilford Students

Literacy students read to a class at Guilford Elementary as part of service-learning in a course taught by Margarita Gomez.