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Faculty Application for a Community Engaged Teaching Assistant 

Having a CEL TA can help to facilitate a consistent community-engaged learning experience for students enrolled in the course and community partners. If awarded, your CEL TA can support your teaching in these ways:

  • Articulating the purpose of community-engaged learning to students and community partners.
  • Helping prepare students and community partners to work with each other.
  • Assisting faculty with identification, coordination, and communication with community partners throughout the semester.
  • Providing ongoing communication, technical assistance, and problem-solving for both partners and students.
  • Developing and/or assisting in developing the plan for reflection and assisting with reflection activities.
  • Coordinating community partner evaluations.

Students who serve as CEL TA's receive a financial award based on class enrollment and availability of funds. For qualifying classes with <25 students, a $900 award for a 0.75 CEL TA. For qualifying classes of 25-74 students, one full-time CEL TA position is funded at $1250. For classes larger than 75 students, multiple CEL TA positions can be funded on an as-needed basis as funds are available. 

application due dates

Applications are due by July 15 (for a Fall semester class), November 15 (for a Spring semester class), and March 15 (for a Summer semester class). Successful applicants will be notified within two weeks of application deadlines. Awards are contingent upon the availability of funds, and will be distributed during the first two weeks of the semester awarded.

Please review the eligibility criteria, below, then use the online form to submit your application for a CEL TA award.

Contact Andi Witczak or Amy Sibul if you have questions.


Faculty Eligibility: 1) instructors interested in developing a community-engaged learning course by “test teaching” it, and 2) instructors who teach a CEL-designated class may apply for a CEL TA award. 

Student Eligibility: Instructors may select an undergraduate or graduate student for their CEL teaching assistant. Prior community-engaged learning coursework is highly preferred, but not mandatory. The Bennion Center also can help you identify a student to serve as your CEL TA. In this case, preference will be given to students in the Bennion Center Scholars Program, which helps undergraduates apply their academic knowledge to community issues.

Please note: FERPA regulations prohibit undergraduate students from grading their peers’ work, including the reflections that are an important element of a community-engaged learning course.

Program support for CEL TA's

CEL TA's will be given access to a Canvas course that provides support resources for their position as a mentor to students and a point of contact for community partners. Topics addressed include: an exploration of the definition of CEL; guidance on engaged learning in higher education; key elements of critical reflection; and supporting mutually beneficial and collaborative community partnerships. 

 additional Resources

  • "Providing Peer Mentors through a Service-Learning Teaching Assistants Program"
    • This article, by Erin Burke Brown, Lynn E. Pelco, and Sabrina Hise (Virginia Commonwealth University), discusses success stories at VCU and elaborates on ways that its TAs "have helped students understand the broader context of their educational experience and how it shapes the communities in which they live."
Last Updated: 3/15/21