community partners help make the Maxwell Program in Citizenship and Civic
Engagement the innovative and effective learning experience it has become. By working closely with community experts,
CCE students develop a deeper understanding of complex social issues. They research factors that influence policy
and programming. In addition, they collaborate
with our community partners to create interventions that can have a profound
students move through their academic career in CCE at Syracuse University,
their involvement with community organizations also changes and grows, leading
to long-lasting relationships that produce innovative, enduring results.
Through experience with community partnerships, CCE students gain valuable hand’s-on
experience that prepares them for leadership roles after graduation. The local community also benefits from the
talent and energies our students bring to the table.
Working with community partners through the CCE major, I learned a great deal about professional collaboration. Especially when working with NGOs and specific interest groups, it’s important to present fully-formed ideas well in advance of project due dates. Patience and persistence are also key. CCE was a great environment to learn this because the staff and students have so much experience working with community partners. They helped me develop effective strategies for ensuring responsiveness.
~ Meredith Coccoluto, '18 BA (Ecn/IR/CCE)
Intern, United Nations UNDP Ecosystem and Biodiversity Team
The first formal interaction most CCE students have with a community organization is through the Community Placement class, taken during the second (sophomore) year. Students work with CCE faculty and staff to choose a community organization that aligns with the student’s educational and career goals. Then, students spend 8-10 hours per week working in, and learning about, this community organization. Often this is a local nonprofit organization, but CCE students have also worked in government and elected officials’ offices, private companies, coalitions, and foundations.
As future leaders and problem solvers, CCE students seek insight into the inner-workings of organizations to see how they fit into the community environment. Community partners also benefit by working with this select group of students—who can provide reliable, dedicated support with program delivery, constituent services, communications and writing, data management, special projects, and more.
CCE students are more than just interns. They are passionate, driven, and responsible community members who are working to realize their dreams of making an impact for the public good through public service.
During the CCE Research Seminar, usually taken in junior year, students take a deep-dive exploration into the social issue or community challenge they yearn to address. Students confer with community partners to gain expertise on how the issue presents itself within our community. They also discover past interventions and assess how policies at all government levels shape potential future action.
Based on this understanding, students evaluate potential strategies for addressing these issues. This presents an opportunity for community organizations to set the agenda for student research and to gain insights they might not have had the resources or internal capacity to produce themselves.
The CCE student’s Senior Action Plan builds on knowledge gained over the prior years working with the local community. Each senior spends at least a semester creating an actionable program, plan, or initiative in response to a need or challenge in the community. Some students continue to work with the same partner they have collaborated with since sophomore year, while others expand their networks to include other local, national, or even global organizations. Some students end up acting as consultants to partner organizations—with organizations providing mentorship. Together, they develop the Action Plan to ensure it is responsive, sustainable, and appropriate.
While many of our community partnerships involve individual students working with a specific organization, there is opportunity for large-scale group research projects in the future. For example, in the Fall of 2017, a local foundation and a local community organization commissioned a class of CCE students to study the nature of partnerships and collaborations in the Central New York nonprofit community.
The resulting report provides a fascinating analysis of the motivations, challenges, and desired outcomes that local nonprofits evaluate when considering new cooperative initiatives.
If any of these types of experiences sound like something from which your organization might benefit, fill out the form below. We look forward to hearing from you!
Name of Organization*
With which Maxwell academic programs would you like to partner?*
Citizenship & Civic Engagement
Environment, Sustainability, & Policy
International Relations (Undergraduate)
Public Administration & International Affairs
Tell us about the project or projects you are interested in collaborating on.