About the Center


The Center for Community Engagement (CCE) engages the university and community in creating a just and civil society where every member functions as an agent of social change.

The Center for Community Engagement enriches the educational experiences of students by:

  • Serving as a facilitative partner and resource for students, faculty, staff and community members in strengthening community capacity;
  • Promoting shared community-based participatory research and planning; and
  • Building social and political capital through the coordination of community and civic engagement, effective service learning and reciprocal community collaboration.

The Center for Community Engagement (CCE) represents an expansion of the former Community Service Learning Center (CSLC), which was established in 1998 as a special project of the Center for Faculty Development to institutionalize Service Learning at CSULB. In the past three years the CCE has brought in over half a million dollars in grant funding to support community engagement.


  • Promote K-16 initiatives and academic success through after-school programs and faculty development.
  • Foster community-based participatory research that enhances community education and improves the local quality of life.


  • Focus on connections between CCE, student organizations and student services to promote community and civic engagement.
  • Support and promote student leadership, mentoring and student recognition of community engagement.


  • Promote participatory citizenship at all levels of society.
  • Facilitate and participate in campus-community forums that focus on issues of shared concern and create partnerships for problem-based service learning, research, and creative activities.

A teaching approach utilizing experiential learning to connect theory and practice.

Service learning (SL) integrates and enhances both community services and academic instruction, engages students in responsible and challenging community service, and emphasizes active learning in different environments.
It is an opportunity for community groups, organizations and agencies to develop reciprocal partnerships with faculty, staff and students to address significant community issues.
In the process, students begin to develop an ethic and spirit of service and civic engagement.

Students participate in SL as a fundamental part of an academic course, which places an equal value upon students' integrative learning and upon service that addresses significant community-identified needs.
Students tie their SL experiences together with classroom learning through guided critical reflection.

Action-oriented research, which involves the community in all aspects of the research process, acknowledges both community assets and deficits, and results in measurable community impact.

The CCE provides various resources to support the development and implementation of community-based participatory research (CBPR).
Recognizing the complex nature of issues facing the community, we seek to bring community resources together with faculty and campus resources across various disciplines.
We utilize CBPR strategies through new and existing networks and partnerships.
The goal is to conduct research with the community that is both sustainable and transformational rather than simply on the community. Such research should make significant contributions to the community as well as to a discipline or to interdisciplinary studies.

Collaboration between CSULB and local, regional, national and global communities for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.*

The CCE is a member of a growing national community that values community engagement as an academically effective and socially beneficial cornerstone of education. Engagement initiatives are founded on the principle of developing projects, programs and activities that are transformational, sustainable, multi-stakeholder processes.

The broad range of current and potential community engagement initiatives are designed to leverage CSULB and community resources to address the needs and priorities of both the community and university.

*Based upon the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning's definition of community engagement.

Prospective students and requests for general CCE program information, events, and fiscal issues

Service learning Faculty, Student, and Community Partner questions, including S4 troubleshooting

Academic Internships Office general questions

Center for Community Engagement Office Phone
(562) 985-7131


Dr. Juan M. Benitez Executive Director Juan.Benitez@csulb.edu
Carina Sass Associate Director Carina.Sass@csulb.edu
Dr. Beth Manke Senior Faculty Fellow Beth.Manke@csulb.edu
Dr. Sarah Taylor Faculty Fellow Sarah.Taylor@csulb.edu


Michelle Chang Director, Academic Internships Office Michelle.Chang@csulb.edu
Mitra Baghdadi Community-Engaged Learning Programs Coordinator Mitra.Baghdadi@csulb.edu
B'Jon Jones Community-Engaged Learning Programs Assistant Bjon.Jones@csulb.edu
Isabelle Garcia Administrative Coordiantor Isabelle.Garcia@csulb.edu


Visit Us

We are located in the Academic Services Building (AS) 127 situated besides CSULB Library.

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The Center for Community Engagement and Staff Offices are located on the first floor of the building opposite to ATS.

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