The Environmental Corps (E-Corps) project is working to (1) enhance, expand, and institutionalize a new model for service learning and public engagement at UConn and (2) study the transformation process and resulting changes in instructional practices, university culture, and community engagement. Primarily for UConn juniors and seniors, E-Corps offers three, two-semester courses, each focusing on an environmental topic area: Brownfield Corps (brownfield redevelopment), Climate Corps (climate resilience), and Stormwater Corps (stormwater management). The first semester is a classroom-based, interactive course intended to develop the knowledge and skills students would need to address the environmental issues in their communities. In the second semester, small teams of students work on environmental projects related to the Corps themes in towns across Connecticut. The project’s research is focusing on gaining a deeper understanding of best practices for student learning and identifying key parameters for making institutional changes that facilitate effective service learning-based instruction.
HRI’s evaluation includes giving feedback on the project’s research design, processes, and products. HRI is also examining impacts of E-Corps on students, community members, and what is known about best practices for student service-learning experience.