Working Together to Apply Knowledge
CEL involves students, faculty and community partners working together to apply knowledge in authentic settings in order to address community needs while also meeting instructional objectives. CEL enhances and deepens students' understanding of an academic discipline by facilitating the integration of theory and practice. This high impact teaching method provides students with experiences that develop life skills, with opportunities to engage in critical reflection, and with the intellectual space to understand and contribute to the public purpose of their chosen major or discipline.
“Biochemistry is one of those topics that you sometimes think, “When will I ever need to use this?” This CEL program eliminates this question and turns biochemistry into something that is applicable to the real world. It gives you the backbone to educate patients. This experience gave me a taste of what patient education consists of and I was able to combine my knowledge from this class into something that is beneficial to my community.”
“Our CEL work with Hawkwatch International may seem small but has a profound impact on this particular species, the community of Utah, as well as on our own education. Many of us agreed that this work with CEL partners has changed our outlook on the education we received and our future in our biology careers. This CEL work also allowed for us to make meaningful connections with the biology community here in SLC. This connection does not happen in a typical university class and has unwavering value in the development of conservation biologists hoping to make a difference in this world.”
I think that the Community Engaged Learning program is an essential component to applied science. It was very rewarding for me; it gave me the opportunity to get my foot in the door with the US Forest Service, local office. I was able to meet the right people to help me understand the departments within the forest service. This connection relates directly to wildlife biology in every way. If I can get in part time next summer, then it could possibly lead to an internship opportunity or technical assistant job to a plant or wildlife biologist, and hopefully lead to a graduate path within the forestry realm!
The classroom component of the course is combined with the experiential learning component, along with multiple reflection opportunities, to create an enriching, meaningful and applied learning experience for the student. This strategy allows students to apply lecture topics to the professional world, enhances civic responsibility, and strengthens relationships between students and their off-campus community.
Each of these courses allows students to engage in meaningful, applied work with a community partner that enriches the learning experience. For more details see the class-specific CEL syllabus linked above.
Amy Sibul (Instructor/CEL Coordinator)
As a teaching faculty for the School of Biological Sciences and is one of two Instructors for Conservation Biology (Biol3470). She coordinates the Community Engaged Learning Program for the department, and manages the informal internship program which helps connect students with applied experiences and allows them to earn academic credit for those experiences through enrolling in Biol4965-Independent Internship. She also serves as the Assistant Director of Community Engaged Learning for the Bennion Community Service Center. Sibul’s educational background is in Wildlife Biology, Ecology, and Conservation. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University in 1994 and her Master's in Plant Ecology from Utah State University in 1998.
Her professional experience includes serving as the biologist for a Salt Lake City environmental consulting firm and directing the Conservation Program at Red Butte Garden. She has always emphasized the importance of civic engagement and has volunteered for the Salt Lake City School District, BreatheUtah, The Utah Museum of Natural History, and serves on the Board of the Hollow Tree Honey Foundation. She is the Committee Chair of the University of Utah Bee Campus USA Committee, and is the Faculty Advisor to the University of Utah Beekeepers’ Association.