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Faculty Application for a Community Engaged Teaching Assistant 

Having a CEL-TA can help to facilitate a consistent community-engaged learning experience for students enrolled in the course and community partners. If you are selected, your CEL teaching assistant can support your teaching in these ways:

  • Articulating the purpose of community-engaged learning to students and community partners.
  • Helping prepare students and community partners to work with each other.
  • Assisting faculty with identification, coordination, and communication with community partners throughout the semester.
  • Providing ongoing communication, technical assistance, and problem-solving for both partners and students.
  • Developing and/or assisting in developing the plan for reflection and assisting with reflection activities.
  • Coordinating community partner evaluations.

Students who serve as CEL Teaching Assistants receive a financial award for their experiential learning. Awards typically range between $500 and $1,000 for a semester, depending on enrollment in the CEL course and availability of funds.

Contact the Andi Witczak if you have questions about this opportunity.

Applications are due by July 15 (for a Fall semester class), November 15 (for a Spring semester class), or March 15 (for a Summer semester class). Successful applicants will be notified within two weeks of application deadlines. Awards are contingent upon the availability of funds.

Faculty eligibility, funding criteria, and application:

Please review the criteria, below, then use the online form to submit your application for a CEL-TA award.


Faculty who are interested in developing a community-engaged learning course by “test teaching” it, or who teach a class that already has received the CEL designation, may apply for a CEL-TA award. The financial awards typically range from $500 to $1,000 per TA, depending on course enrollment. 

You may select a student, undergraduate or graduate, to work with you as your CEL teaching assistant for a semester. Prior community-engaged learning coursework is preferred, but not mandatory.

The Bennion Center also can help you identify and select a student to serve as your TA. In this case, preference will be given to students in the Bennion Center Scholars Program, which helps undergraduates apply their academic knowledge to community issues.

Instructors who work with a CEL teaching assistant will be asked to complete an evaluation at the end of the semester. Instructors also are encouraged to provide constructive, face-to-face feedback to their TA at least once during the semester.

Please note that FERPA regulations prohibit undergraduate students from grading their peers’ work, including the reflections that are an important element of a community-engaged learning course.

Program Requirements

CEL teaching assistants must complete a Canvas "course" during the semester that addresses topics including: engaged learning and higher education; what community-engaged learning is; elements of critical reflection; and collaborative and dynamic community partnerships. CEL-TAs must participate in online discussions with their cohort and submit several reflections by listed deadlines.

Application Deadlines and Details

As listed above, deadlines to apply for a financial award for a CEL teaching assistant are: July 15 (Fall semester), November 15 (Spring semester), March 15 (Summer semester).

Preference is given to: junior faculty; faculty who have not previously received a financial award for a CEL-TA; faculty who are developing a new course that incorporates CEL practices and pedagogy; departments that can commit to matching awards for the CEL-TA.

Faculty who have previously been awarded funding must reapply by the relevant deadline in order to have their application considered.

All applicants will be notified within two weeks of the deadline.


  • "Providing Peer Mentors through a Service-Learning Teaching Assistants Program"
    • This article, by Erin Burke Brown, Lynn E. Pelco, and Sabrina Hise (Virginia Commonwealth University), discusses success stories at VCU and elaborates on ways that its TAs "have helped students understand the broader context of their educational experience and how it shapes the communities in which they live."
Last Updated: 5/29/19