Report: Community Engagement by Faculty and Students at Trinity College, 2015-19
In 2016, Trinity College adopted a new mission statement that emphasizes three words: Engage, Connect, and Transform. But exactly who engages with communities outside of Trinity’s gates, and are these participation rates representative of the college demographics at large? In late spring 2018, the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) was created to strengthen educational partnerships between Hartford’s diverse communities and students, staff, and faculty at Trinity College, and to evaluate campus-city relationships. This report focuses on faculty and student participation rates in CHER programs: primarily Community Learning courses, and secondly, co-curricular activities sponsored by the Office of Community Service and Civic Engagement, and Trinfo Cafe. Key findings include:
- Faculty offered around 20-25 Community Learning courses, with total enrollments ranging around 280-440, each semester during academic years 2015-19.
- 22 out of 32 (or 69%) of academic departments and programs in which students can major at Trinity College have offered Community Learning courses during academic years 2015-19.
- About 18 percent of full-time faculty taught one or more Community Learning courses during academic years 2015-19. But participation varied by gender, with about 23 percent of female faculty versus 13 percent of male faculty, though this pattern fluctuated by faculty status.
- About 62 percent of traditional undergraduates in the Class of 2018 completed at least 1 Community Learning course during a typical four-year period of study at Trinity. Furthermore, 25 percent completed 2 or more CL courses, and 11 percent completed 3 or more CL courses. But about 36 percent of traditional undergraduates did not enroll in any CL courses.
- During any given academic year between 2015 and 2019, traditional undergraduates who enrolled in at least one Community Learning course ranged from 21 to 28 percent.
- Female students participated in Community Learning at higher proportions (29 percent) than male students (21 percent), on average, during each academic year from 2015-2019.
- Students of color enrolled in Community Learning courses in higher proportions (34 percent of Black students; 30 percent of Hispanic students; 27 percent of Asian students) than White students (23 percent), on average, during each academic year from 2015-2019.
- Students with need-based financial aid enrolled in one or more Community Learning courses at a higher proportion (27 percent) than students without financial aid (24 percent), on average, during each academic year from 2015-2019.
- First-generation students enrolled in one or more Community Learning courses at higher proportions (32 percent) than non-first- generation students (25 percent), on average, for each of the three years that Trinity has collected this data from 2017-2019.
- About 25 percent of traditional undergraduates participated in co-curricular community engagement (specifically Community Service and Trinfo.Cafe) in 2017-18. When we combined participation in curricular programs (Community Learning courses) or co-curricular programs, about 43 percent of traditional undergraduates participated in at least one or more of these in 2017-18.
Since this report is limited to CHER programs, we invite other Trinity offices to share data with us to help gather a more comprehensive picture of community engagement.
See details in the full report below.