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Professor João Biehl discusses a student's academic poster developed from field work and research for a community partner. Courtesy of ProCES, Princeton University

On Friday, Sept. 7, the Community-Based Learning Initiative (CBLI), a University program connecting students' academic work with their interests in real-world communities, was officially renamed “The Program for Community-Engaged Scholarship” (ProCES). 

This new name will highlight the “expanded vision for service in the curriculum that builds on twenty years of CBLI’s successful, pioneering work,” according to the ProCES website. This change comes with the program's move from the Office of Religious Life's jurisdiction to that of the Office of the Dean of the College.

“I think the name change is a good one because it accurately reflects the focus of the program on both community and scholarship,” said Alex Michael ’17, a former CBLI Derian summer service intern.

He added that he is glad that the program is being adopted by more students, since exposure to real communities was an important part of his Princeton experience. 

Amanda Haye ’19 offered similar sentiments, saying that it was “valuable to put [herself] outside of the extremely academic atmosphere at Princeton and translate coursework into something useful and beneficial for someone with a completely different background.”

ProCES offers over 25 service-oriented courses each semester. This fall, ProCES is offering courses from 18 different departments and programs.

“Our courses show the range of ways that service can be a part of a course,” said Director of ProCES Trisha Thorme.

Service can be integrated into courses through community-based research, historical and theoretical reflection on service, and course content that helps students explore and formulate responses to pressing societal issues.

Thorme also noted that a number of new courses will be offered each semester through ProCES.

ProCES courses also provide an appropriate curriculum for students in Service Focus, a program at the University that offers summer service internships to first-year students to reflect on their service and to extend their learning from the internships.

According to Thorme, ProCES also offers a number of summer internships in the Princeton area each year and supports students’ summer work with community partners in other locations.

For example, the Derian Research Internship is open to all freshmen, sophomores, and juniors and challenges students to use their academic skills to serve the information needs of local nonprofit organizations.

In addition to internships, ProCES also grants funding to facilitate junior paper and senior thesis research conducted in partnership with local communities and nonprofit organizations. The independent work of students can then provide useful information to nonprofits and the communities those nonprofits serve.

Thorne explained that students who are looking for funding for community-engaged independent work can find ProCES through SAFE.

In addition, support for students interested in community-engaged independent work has increased with the addition of a third team member, ProCES Associate Director Leah Anderson, who joined CBLI last December. She was previously a faculty member and department chair of political science at Wheaton College.

Anderson now works with students and faculty to develop courses and projects that connect service and learning.

“Part of the idea of the name change was to mark the program’s growth and maturity. The new name is more descriptive, and the acronym is especially fitting. Students suggested that we say ‘Trust the ProCES,’” Thorme said.

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