Community Engagement Center
Community Engagement Center (CEC) was formed in 2000 by faculty, staff and students, and community members interested in better mobilizing the University of New Mexico’s resources and talents towards ever increasing civic engagement. CEC now serves the entire campus and the state of New Mexico.
In a very short time, CEC has come to act as an academic partnership and policy center for communities, neighborhoods, and villages striving to implement more community-driven learning projects for their children, youth and families. In order to support this work, CEC operates as a campus wide linking resource office for more effectively bringing students, faculty, academic units, communities and citizens together to participate in shared learning and community problem solving.
Much of these interactions are conducted between communities, neighborhoods, large public institutions (school, public agencies), and governmental systems (local, tribal, state and federal). CEC’s basic practice is to create spaces where university faculty, students and staff can listen, dialog, and learn with and from children and youth, parents, community members, teachers, and agency representatives. Community partners then identify and document needs and opportunities, and go onto conceptualize and implement imaginative community learning plans—plans that utilize the entire community as a rich context for learning and community improvement. CEC supports and facilitates this mutual community learning process.
In its policy center role, CEC primarily focuses on youth matters, leadership for community capacity building, local community projects and inter-governmental or institutional collaboration. CEC assists community members, leaders and institutional representatives to conduct needs and asset assessments, plan programs, develop youth/adult partnerships, and then provides technical assistance and learning supports designed to articulate community-learning agendas.