SIUE’s Digital Community Engagement Pathway (DCEP) is for motivated students in all fields and majors who want to use their general education credits to work alongside community organizations to study and address the world’s most pressing problems. This specialized program is designed to help students apply their learning early; DCEP students will take a set of core courses together in their cohort emphasizing interdisciplinary research and problem-solving methods. They will also meet each semester in small research-team courses facilitated by their mentoring professor and a community organization to address such major social problems in our region as food insecurity and helping immigrant communities form a sense of belonging. Students will take their education beyond the walls of the classroom and into the St. Louis region. The teams will use interdisciplinary methods to analyze, visualize, and share their work with the broader public using data mining, mapping, storytelling, networking, and cultural analytics. In this way, the program gives students firsthand experience applying twenty-first century skills including collaboration, systems thinking, and innovative approaches to digital communication. In this innovative, community-based program, students will learn the important skill of negotiating the civic responsibilities they bear toward others in both physical and digital spaces.
General Education Requirements for Pathway Students
DCEP students are required to complete a Pathway combining the requirements outlined in University policy 1D1 – University-wide Criteria for the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), and Professional Baccalaureate Degrees – with the following 28 credit-hour curriculum.
The requirements of SIUE’s Digital Community Engagement Pathway falls into two categories: the DCEP Research Teams and the DCEP Core.
DCEP Research Teams (18 hours)
In each semester of the first three years, students will meet in intensive research teams comprised of five students, a faculty mentor, and a community partner. These teams will focus on a “wicked” or seemingly unsolvable problem such as nutrition and food access, the challenges of intergenerational communication, and poverty’s manifestations across rural and urban environments. The level of difficulty the research teams undertake will grow with students, and the curriculum will be intentionally organic, transforming each year based on student and faculty interest and community need. Students and faculty will work together to structure a series of readings from diverse fields such as history, literature, anthropology, and sociology that supports their work, and they will meet twice weekly to study their problem using a blend of critical thinking, writing, and qualitative research methods. In their final products, research teams will apply the tools of digital research, including data mining, mapping, storytelling, networking, and cultural analytics.
DCEP Core (10 credit-hours)
DCEP students are required to take DCEP 120, “Communicating Globally and Locally” and DCEP 123 “Research and Systems Thinking” during their first year at the University. These courses are designed to help student research, map, and conceptualize global problem and their impact on our region. In these courses students will also learn how to write and speak using interdisciplinary, multi-modal forms of communication. In their second year of instruction, students will take DCEP 220 “Interdisciplinary Problem Solving and the Scientific Method” and its accompanying lab, in which students will learn how scientific modes of inquiry can apply to the problem they are investigating in their research teams.
DCEP students are also required to satisfy the requirements of:
- a course in the sciences
- a mathematics, statistics, or quantitative reasoning course
- a theater and fine arts breadth requirement
These requirements may be satisfied through major or minor degree requirements
Additional DCEP Requirements:
DCEP Summer Seminars
Students will participate in a one-week research seminar in the summer preceding each year of the program where they will choose community partners, learn from peer mentoring, and share their research outcomes.
Fourth Year Pro-Seminars (2 credit hours total)
During a DCEP student’s final year of course work, they will enroll in two one-hour seminars to work on their capstone project and consider future career goals with their DCEP mentoring faculty
|Year 1||Two-Day Orientation||DCEP120-Research Team (3 hours)
DCEP 121-Communicating Globally and Locally (3 hours)
|DCEP120-Research Team (3 hours)
DCEP 123-Research and Systems Thinking (3 hours)
|Teams develop materials to help community organization elucidate and communicate the problem.
|Year 2||One-week research seminar||DCEP 220-Research Team (3 hours)
DCEP221 and 221L-Interdisciplinary Problem Solving and the Scientific Method (4 hours with supporting lab credit)
|DCEP 220-Research Team (3 hours)
|Students finish the year with a large-scale problem mapping and plan to take into their research summit|
|Year 3||2-week research seminar||DCEP320-Research Team (3 hours)||DCEP 320-3hours (research team, repeatable)
|Culminating digital collaborative project|
|Year 4||2-week research seminar||DCEP 420-Research Pro-seminar (1 hour)
|DCEP 420-Research Pro-seminar (1 hour)
|Individual capstone projects shared at research symposium prior to graduation|
Student Learning Objectives
The Digital Community Engagement Pathway will recruit incoming, underserved freshman as fellows. The program is designed to provide a unique scholarly community for students grounded in high impact practices and civic engagement. Students will take a set of core courses together in their cohort emphasizing interdisciplinary research and problem-solving methods. They will also meet each semester in small research team courses facilitated by their mentoring professor and a community organization to address such major social problems in our region as food insecurity and helping immigrant communities form a sense of belonging. Student fellows will take their education beyond the walls of the classroom and into the St. Louis region. Building on research central to the field of digital community engagement, the teams will use interdisciplinary methods to analyze, visualize, and share their work with the broader public using data mining, mapping, storytelling, networking, and cultural analytics. Fellows will participate in the Pathway during all four years of their degree.
Our student objectives are to:
- Use effective high impact practices including intensive undergraduate research, project-based learning, and service learning to increase student retention and success among underserved student groups.
- Demonstrate the practical applications of students’ degrees through a community-based pedagogy while learning twenty-first century skills including collaboration, systems thinking, and innovative approaches to digital communication.
- Use the program’s nexus of community engagement and digital pedagogy to help students negotiate the civic responsibilities they bear toward others in both physical and digital spaces.
- Make a positive impact on the community through by developing relationships with local organization and developing digital spaces to help mitigate community problems
- Engage students in interdisciplinary problem solving at the earliest stages of their college career.
- Demonstrate the role that the humanities and social sciences play in understanding and addressing global problems such as poverty, discrimination, and climate change.