The Community Engagement Option is an innovative new partnership between Laurier and The Working Centre, offering an option in Community Engagement for upper year honours Arts students. This option was collaboratively designed through the creative input of both Laurier and The Working Centre. Laurier Arts faculty, Laurier’s Centre for Community Service-Learning, and The Working Centre came together to design three core courses for this option.
These courses are intended to offer students experiential learning opportunities to explore the concepts of social inclusion, local democracy, and community enterprise. Course readings include influential thinkers like Ivan Illich, E. F. Schumacher, Paulo Freire, and Joe and Stephanie Mancini. Student placements at the Working Centre form an integral component of the option, offering students the opportunity to reflect on how the ideas promoted by key thinkers are practiced in daily life of The Working Centre.
In-depth placements at The Working Centre help students deepen their understanding of community engagement through greater participation in community tools projects. Building upon ideas introduced during class, students begin to demonstrate their understanding of local democracy, social inclusion, and community enterprise.
The Community Engagement Option is unique in that community thinking has been integrated into curriculum design and each course is integrally connected to the next. The professors have been working closely with both The Working Centre and each other to design and deliver each of the three courses in the Option.
The Community Engagement Option is a truly collaborative effort between the community and the academy, which gives students a new perspective on Community Engagement: a perspective that promotes an approach focused on local democracy, social inclusion, and community enterprise, grounded by thoughtful reflection on the common good.