Program Design

The 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.

DCEP students will take a set of core courses emphasizing interdisciplinary research and problem-solving methods together in their cohort. They will meet each semester in research-team courses facilitated by their mentoring professor and a community organization to address major social problems in our region such as food insecurity or immigrant alienation. 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 career 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 general education program that combines 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. SIUE’s Digital Community Engagement Pathway requires 28 credit-hours of general education coursework. These requirements fall into two categories: the DCEP Research Teams and the DCEP Core.

Year Summer Fall Spring Outcome
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 Approaches to the Scientific Method (4 hours with supporting lab credit)

DCEP 220: Research Team (3 hours) Large-scale problem map and plan
Year 3 2-week research seminar DCEP320: Research Team (3 hours) DCEP 320: Research Team (3 hours) 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

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 critical thinking, writing, and qualitative research methods. In products at the end of each year, research teams will apply a variety of digital methods, 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.

Students must also satisfy the following requirements through their major, minor, or additional coursework:

  • a course in the physical or life sciences
  • a mathematics, statistics, or quantitative reasoning course
  • a theater and fine arts breadth requirement

Additional 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

Course Articulation

The Pathway curriculum is designed to be holistic, with students meeting the overarching goals of the University’s general education program throughout the four years of their participation. However, if a student choose to leave the program early for any reason, the articulation plan below demonstrates how courses in the Pathway will count toward general education completion.

Year Fall Gen Ed Articulation Spring Gen Ed Articulation
Year 1 DCEP120: Research Team (3 hours)

DCEP 121: Communicating Globally and Locally (3 hours)

ENG 101

ACS101

humanities breadth

first year transition

DCEP120:Research Team (3 hours)

DCEP 123: Research and Systems Thinking (3 hours)

ENG102

Social science breadth

Info and communication in society breadth

US cultures Experience

Year 2 DCEP 220:Research Team (3 hours)

DCEP221 and 221L: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Scientific Method (4 hours with lab credit)

Life or physical sciences breadth

Lab experience

DCEP 220: Research Team (3 hours) global cultures breadth

RA101

Year 3 DCEP320: Research Team (3 hours) Interdisciplinary studies DCEP 320: 3 hours (research team, repeatable)
Year 4 DCEP 420: Research Pro-seminar (1 hour) DCEP 420: Research Pro-seminar (1 hour)