Academic Community Engagement

What is the Academic Community Engagement Program?

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I will learn.

— Benjamin Franklin

The Academic Community Engagement (ACE) Program at MCC is a blending of academic study with community service. Through ACE, students, faculty and community organizations benefit from an educational method that combines community service with classroom instruction. Students are challenged to reflect upon their experiences, enabling them to uncover and explore connections between their service work and course work.

The ACE mission is to:

  • Encourage students to develop an interest in service to the community
  • Support faculty in offering ACE projects, demonstrating the powerful connection between theory and practice by integrating community service with academic coursework
  • Work with community organizations and social service agencies to deliver needed services

The college offers two types of ACE designated classes:

  • Classes with a community service component. These classes incorporate activities meant to address the needs of others and to better the community as whole.
    • Students serve at least 10 hours.
    • There is at least one reflection exercise.
    • Reflection exercise(s) counts for at least 5% of the final grade.
  • Classes with a service learning component. These classes are designed to encourage students to take personal and civic responsibility to improve their community while developing their academic and critical, reflective thinking skills. ( Adapted from the American Association of Community Colleges' definition)
    • Students serve at least 15 hours.
    • There are several reflection exercises over the course of the semester.
    • Reflection exercises count for at least 15% of the final grade.

Goals of MCC's ACE Program

  • To match students' interests with appropriate sites and projects for community service and service learning
  • To assist faculty on how to incorporate community service and service learning educational components into their classes
  • To build meaningful connections with community partners and service opportunities for MCC students, faculty and staff

Benefits of ACE

"College students who participate in civic engagement learning activities not only earn higher grade point averages but also have higher retention rates and are more likely to complete their college degree. They also demonstrate improved academic content knowledge, critical thinking skills, written and verbal communication, and leadership skills. Moreover, these students show increased interest in becoming personally and professionally involved in future community enhancement projects."
Source: Cress, Burack, Dwight, Elkins & Carns Stevens, Connecticut Campus Compact

ACE projects introduce students to the larger world of community action, political activism , neighborhood preservation and volunteer and social service organizations. Students who participate in ACE earn course credit for service to their community.

Year in Review

During the 2010/2011 school year:

  • 180 MCC students enrolled in a class with a community service component.
  • 2,700 community service hours were contributed.
  • Some of the community organizations MCC partners with:
    • Boys and Girls Club
    • Foodshare
    • Habitat for Humanity
    • Hands on Hartford
    • Lutz Children's Museum
    • Manchester Area Conference of Churches
    • Manchester Office of Neighborhood and Families
    • Nathan Hale Elementary School
    • Police Activity League

Of special note is the work that was done with the Nathan Hale students in their neighborhood and on the school's grounds:

  • East Side Public Safety Youth Center - 22 Nathan Hale students worked with 15 MCC students and Susan Classen-Sullivan and Patricia Carrigan, faculty members from MCC's Fine Arts Department, to produce clay masks to display at the new center.
  • Community Garden - 20 Nathan Hale students created a garden on school grounds with 12 MCC students and Rachel Mintell, faculty member from MCC's Biology Department.

Contact Information

Tim Woods, ACE Program Coordinator/Professor of Sociology, 860-512-2761

Maria Koistinen, Educational Assistant, 860-512-2783


Last Update: February 19 2014
For additionaliInformation, contact: Tim Woods