Community-Engaged Opportunities for Students

Are you interested in connecting your in-class learning to community issues? Or would you like a hands-on opportunity to assist a faculty member with their community-focused research or project? Those are just a few of the ways that UAA students can connect their learning to their community. Read about the community engagement opportunities available at UAA below. 


Civic Engagement (CEL) Courses

Whether you are interested in environmental policy, arts, economics, or anything in between, civic engagement courses can help you broaden the reach of your professional and academic goals.

Course Descriptions

  • CEL A292- Introduction to Civic Engagement

    Introduces students to types of civic engagement in a democracy, practices of engagement and inquiry, and public issues of ethics, environmental sustainability, community building and human and civil rights through reading, reflections and community inquiry.  A service-learning component is included and a required part of the course.

    3 Credit Hours

  • CEL A395-Civic Engagement Internship

    Internship in which student gains intensive experience applying principles of civic engagement and major-disciplinary knowledge and skills to a community-identified problem.  Students complete approximately 135 hours, usually in a community non-profit or government agency. 

    6 Credit Hours

Available CEL Courses by Semester


CEL Internship (CEL A395) is a 3-9 credit internship which may be completed in one or two semesters. In addition, students declared in any major may take the CEL internship as an upper division elective for 3-9 hours.

The CEL internship is designed to enhance your total academic experience through a planned period of observation, study, and participation in a selected community agency or organization. The internship is viewed as an integrative experience for your academic work and as real-life experience in participating civically in your community. 

Getting Started

  • General Requirements

    A student in any declared major is eligible for a CCEL internship placement. The internship is structured as an upper-division course and you should have junior or senior level standing to register for the course. Some firms and agencies enforce standards requiring background and records checks. Consequently, you may be required to authorize related investigations and checks as a condition of acceptance.

  • Application Process

    Identifying the right internship placement for qualified students is a process that profits from advance planning. Internship applicants should notify their advisor of their intent to enroll in the program by the end of the semester preceding that in which they intend to serve their internship. For example, if you are planning to do your internship in the spring, it would be best to notify your advisor and set the process in motion prior to the end of the fall semester.

    Application materials listed below must be completed and submitted to the CCEL office for the student to be considered for placement in a CCEL internship. These required materials include:

    1. Internship Application and Information Release Forms via DocuSign Power Form (OR use the printable PDF version of our Internship Application and email it to
    2. Resume (email resume to
  • Placement Options

    There are many internship opportunities! You can complete your internship with a local organization or you can find an opportunity elsewhere. Although we can offer suggestions, it is up to the student to find an appropriate internship.  Students interested in pursuing internship opportunities should contact the CCEL Main Office at 907-786-4062 to discuss possible placements.

  • Placement Process
     To complete your internship you must:
      1. Receive notification that application will be accepted and placement made.
      2. Meet with the CEL Program Chair to discuss your readiness and appropriateness for a CEL internship the semester prior to placement.
      3. Complete the application materials by designated date.
      4. Identify an appropriate internship placement and have it approved by the internship instructor.
      5. Register for the appropriate number of CEL 395 credits (at least 3 and up to 9 credits).
      6. Complete and submit the required form prior to the beginning of the internship: 
        1. Internship Packet via DocuSign PowerForm OR you can use the fillable PDF version and email it to
      7. Attend scheduled class meetings and submit assignments as outlined in syllabus.
      8. Track your hours using the Internship Hours Log or alternative.

Frequently Asked Internship Questions

  • Will I be paid?

    Internships are usually unpaid, but we do not preclude your being paid.

  • What is the benefit?

    Interns benefit greatly from the opportunity to observe and work with practitioners in the field.

    As interns, you are challenged with opportunities to apply concepts and principles learned in the classroom, to network with professionals in the community, and to analyze on the-job experiences in light of academic learning.

  • How many hours do I have to work to satisfy the requirement?

    Three credits is equivalent to approximately 135 hours, which is roughly nine hours a week for 15 weeks. If your internship is shorter in duration then you must work more hours a week. How many credits you can count towards an internship depends on how many hours you put into your experience. This work must be supervised, though each of the hours need not occur in the physical confines of the placement site.

  • Will I be graded on my performance as an intern?

    Yes. This is a graded course. Your grade will be based on the evaluation of your site supervisor, your instructor’s assessment of reflection assignments, your final product and the timeliness and thoroughness of your other assignments.

  • Can I complete my internship hours before or after the academic term?

    No. All internship hours submitted for academic credit must be earned during the academic term in which the student has registered for the CEL A395 course. Students may not earn hours prior to their enrollment in the class or before the class begins.

  •  What if I do not get along with my site supervisor or things are not going as planned?

    If you have any problems or concerns during the course of your internship, you should contact your instructor immediately.

  • What is the learning contract, and where do I find one?

    The learning contract is an agreement between you, your site supervisor and your instructor. It establishes the purpose and structure of the internship as agreed between you and your placement site, then approved by your advisor. The contract is unique to your internship. You are required to draft the contract, and perform your internship according to its terms. It can be found in the class Blackboard site or you may request a copy through email from the CCEL Main Office at

  • What is the point of the internship reflection assignments?

    The reflection assignments serve several purposes. First, the reflections document your compliance with the terms of your internship contract. Second, they identify the type of work you performed and the work product generated during your internship. Third, as a contemporaneous record reflecting on your work and experience, they provide useful information in completing your final paper requirement.

  • Is there anything else I should know?

    Yes, in order to pass this course you must have a passing grade in every element of your internship experience (see syllabus for details).

  • You will likely have lots of questions, so please ask them!

    Contact the CCEL Main Office via email at or 907-786-4062. At the time that the course begins, your instructor will supply their phone number and email address for communication.

Community Engaged Student Assistants (CESAs)

Community Engaged Student Assistants (CESAs) are awarded UAA Administration Scholarships to support faculty in their teaching, research, or creative activity. All activities should emphasize integrating community engaged experiences, disciplinary learning outcomes, or research and creative activity goals.

CESA activities should help students develop their leadership and commitment to civic engagement on campus and in the community and support students, faculty, and community partners in four key areas:

  • Developing community partnerships with faculty
  • Recruiting, placing, training, and coordinating service-learners for courses
  • Developing creative projects, applying technical expertise, and collecting research data
  • Providing direct service/research to the community partner
  • Eligibility

    CESAs receive UAA Administration Scholarship Awards and must meet those eligibility guidelines in order to become a CESA. To be eligible for UAA Administration Scholarship awards, students must be: 

    1. Enrolled in classes for the semester in which an award is being made
    2. Admitted into a UAA degree or certificate program 
    3. Making satisfactory academic progress,
    4. Meet UAA cumulative GPA minimums of 3.0 for a graduate program, 2.8 for a college or other academic unit award for undergraduate students, and 2.5 for administrative waivers for undergraduate students.

    Please note: combinations of UAA Administration Scholarship funds and other financial aid must not exceed the student’s total cost of attendance. CESAs may check with Financial Aid ( to confirm eligibility.

    The scholarship amount depends on the number of hours per week on average that CESAs will contribute to their projects.The table below breaks down the scholarship amount CESAs receive based on the number of hours per week:

    Award Amount Per Number of Hours Worked
    To receive this amount of award: Complete these average hours per week: For total hours per 15-week semester
    $500 undergrad/$1,000 grad 3 45
    $700 undergrad/$1,200 grad 5 75
    $1,000 undergrad/$1,500 grad 7 105

  • Expectations
    In addition to helping your faculty member with their community-engaged research or project, CESAs are expected to complete a few assignments on Blackboard and prepare an informational poster and present it at our annual Community Engagement Forum in the spring. 

CESA applications are currently closed

The Center for Community Engagement & Learning is not currently accepting applications for the Community Engaged Student Assistant (CESA) program. If you are a student who is interested in participating in this program and would like to be paired with a faculty member, please contact our office at 907-786-4062 or at Once you've been paired with a faculty member, they will apply on your behalf.

Check out the 2021 CE Forum e-portfolio and 2022 CE Forum e-portfolio to see what students have done in the past.


Interested in becoming a CESA? Please fill out the CESA Interest Form:

CESA Interest Form

Scholarships & Awards 

Dr. Alex Hills Engineering & Civic Engagement Award

As of Fall 2020 this award is now administered by the College of Engineering. Please contact them for current application dates or questions about how to apply.

Second Bridge Scholarship

The Second Bridge Scholarship encouraged UAA undergraduates enrolled in any degree-seeking program to pursue a structured but non-traditional educational experience that expanded their educational horizons. Crossing a second bridge required a commitment to either an international or a domestic setting that pushed the boundaries of traditional education and brought the promise of a richer and deeper experience.

 This scholarship was awarded to students from AY 2011/2012 to 2019/2020.

Faculty Development & Instructional Support 
Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence, Academic Innovations & eLearning, and Center for Community Engagement and Learning 
Library 213 • 907-786-4496  Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.