Center for Community Engagement and Experiential Learning

group on a farm


The Center for Community Engagement and Experiential Learning (CEEL) is the hub for community engagement resources and activities at UNH Manchester. The CEEL provides resources to share knowledge and experience, foster best practices and facilitate the ongoing development of new engagement activities to improve our students’ learning experience while providing valuable research and service to our local communities.

Created in 2018 by staff, administration and an interdisciplinary team of faculty, the mission of the CEEL is to:

  • Highlight and build upon the many relationships between the UNH Manchester community and their local, national and global partners;
  • Serve as a resource for faculty who want to incorporate service learning, volunteerism and participatory action research into their courses by providing a repository of “best practices” drawn from faculty experience and the broader academic literature;
  • Promote student awareness of service opportunities and to foster habits of active, engaged citizenship; and
  • Facilitate UNH Manchester’s participation in public and not-for-profit sector work that benefits communities locally, nationally and beyond.

Stephen Pimpare
Director and Senior Lecturer
Faculty Suite
88 Commercial Street
Manchester, NH 03101

As the work of the CEEL develops and expands, it will enrich the educational experience of our students, develop future leaders and help them deepen their roots and commitment to New Hampshire.

We are just getting started, so to learn more, share your ideas or get involved with the CEEL, please contact Stephen Pimpare.

Community Resources
Learning and Teaching - Online Resources
Learning and Teaching - Books
Evaluating Learning
Evaluating Teaching
Online Learning
Service Learning
Participatory Action Research

Student Leadership Academy

Students in the Student Leadership Academy are engaged in a hand-on Food Insecurity Initiative as part of their Community-Based Service course.  Future plans for the Community-Based Service course are to offer service learning opportunities that are tied to a specific issue or concern on campus and within the Greater Manchester community on a yearly basis. 

Experiential Learning in Degree Programs

We asked UNH Manchester faculty to describe the experiential learning built into their degree programs, using the definition of “Experiential Learning” from the National Society for Experiential Education: an “authentic” experiential learning activity “must have a real world context and/or be useful and meaningful in reference to an applied setting or situation.” Click on the program title below to see what they reported.

Analytics and Data Science

Program Coordinator: Jeremiah Johnson

  • Internship required
  • Capstone project required: While the primary experiential learning activity in the program is the capstone course during the senior year, the program is constructed to incorporate experiential learning into all courses, from start to finish.

learn more about the analytics and data science program

ASL/English Interpreting

Program Coordinator: Laurie Shaffer

The ASL/English Interpreting program is one that encourages engagement and experiential learning from day one. By the end of the program, students have had much opportunity to network; to get to know the community and the professionals with whom they will work.

For all the American Sign Language courses (ASL I to IV and Advanced Discourse I & II), students are required to attend various Deaf community events with the expectation that they interact with the members of the community and their families. Students are strongly encouraged to volunteer to assist with these events and for various local deaf organizations.This same expectation forc ommunity involvement continues through much of the interpreting courses as well. All American Sign Language courses and many of the interpreting courses have a lab component. The ASL labs are taught by a variety of qualified instructors from the local Deaf community. The interpreting labs are co-taught by one ASL-English interpreter and one Certified Deaf Interpreter.

During the capstone year, students are paired with working professionals to put their studies into real-world practice. During the senior year, students are assigned 1 or 2 ASL-English interpreter mentors.The year begins with students observing the work of their mentorand other professional interpreters. With time, the student eases into working with their mentor as part of the team providing the service. The students also have variety of opportunities to work with each other or with another working interpreter in low-risk assignments. In addition, students are assigned a Deaf mentor with whom they can engage in discourse regarding the consumer perspective from one who is a member of this cultural and linguistic minority.


Biological Sciences and Biotechnology

Program Coordinator: Steve Pugh

  • Capstone project required: Capstone could be an independent study, internship or research project (e.g., Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, paid research position with a faculty member or a research-based study away program). Research has become a more popular experiential learning activity. This can be for credit, for pay or just for the experience. If it is used to satisfy a Capstone requirement, it is either for pay or credit.

Learn more about the BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES and BIOTECHNOLOGY programs.


Program Coordinator: Bill Troy

  • Internship required: We require one internship through BUS 690 before students’ graduating semester. This could be waived if a student undertook a significant opportunity such as a semester away or study abroad.
  • Capstone required: In the required Capstone course BUS 705 – Business Ethics, students must complete a community service project that adds value to the managerial function of a nonprofit. This includes, for example, creating inventory control processes, marketing plans, event coordination, promotional plans and HR functions.

Other experiential learning activities:

  • Students who complete the BUS 535 can participate in the VITA service internship, a longstanding IRS program in which students help elderly, disabled and others complete their income taxes.
  • BUS 635 - ENACTUS supports local entrepreneurs in the profit and nonprofit sectors through a team approach, often working closely with the NH Small Business Development center. Over the past 10 years over 50 different organizations have been impacted through the UNH Manchester ENACTUS program. Specific work activities have included the development of: business plans, marketing plans, special events, philanthropy solicitation plans, grant writing, and scholarship development to name a few. This is part of a national competitive program in which UNH Manchester has won 8 regional championships over the past 10 years. 
  • ECN 412 - Intro to Microeconomic Principles includes two options for experiential learning: sponsoring a Red Cross blood drive and gathering clothing and other donations for Liberty House, a local and privately funded organization designed to help veterans. This latter option was an offshoot of the Warmth from the Millyard project initiated by students several years ago. Professor Birch invites the head of Liberty House to speak to the class and students choosing this option write a paper on some aspect of the problem of poverty, usually as it relates to veterans.
  • ECN 505 - Contemporary Economic Issues has a required service-learning project designed by the students in the class. A previous example includes examining economic costs and benefits of preventive health measures (e.g., improved nutrition) and presenting findings to a local retirement community.
  • ECN 650 - Managerial Economics recently worked with a Millyard planning group to develop an economic plan for a new parking garage for the Millyard.


Communication Arts

Program Coordinator: Jeffrey Klenotic

  • Internship is required for students who seek degree options in Advertising and Public Relations, Digital Media or Human Relations. The internship consists of at least 180 hours of hands-on learning at the internship site.

Other experiential learning activities:

  • CA 615 - Film History: Theory & Method: Students work collaboratively to research, develop, design, promote and carry out a 90-minute public walking tour of historic theater sites in downtown Manchester. The project includes development of a mobile “Storymap” that complements and extends the walking tour experience. 

  • CA 720 - Media Activism: This special topics seminar offers students an overview of contemporary debates about social movement theory and the increasingly important role of media activism. The first half of the course is structured around theoretical and empirical texts, and the second half of the semester is spent working with local organizations to produce collaborative "allied research projects" as the final project for the class. 

  • A variety of CA courses – such as CA 514 Fundamentals of Video Production and CA 515 Advanced Video Production – require students to do original creative productions that require hands-on, field-based learning with media production equipment (e.g. conducting on-camera interviews, capturing unscripted documentary footage and ambient sound, staging scenarios for scripted dramas, etc.).



Computer information systems, B.S.
Computer science, B.A.

Program Coordinator: Michael Jonas

information technology, m.s.

Program Coordinator: Mihaela Sabin

  • Internship required: The COMP 690/890 - Internship course provides field-based learning experience for both undergraduate and graduate students through placement in a computing field. Students gain practical computing experience in a business, non-profit, or government organization. Under the direction of a faculty advisor and workplace supervisor, the student is expected to contribute to the information technology products, processes, or services of the organization.
  • Capstone required: Computing disciplines recognize the value of an integrative capstone experience in the fourth year of study and has identified three common elements of nearly all capstone experiences: students are divided into teams, each team is given a real world project or problem to solve, and the project takes many weeks to complete (typically one semester).

    In computing (BS CIS, BA CS), students have many opportunities to work on team projects in many courses though the scope and depth of the design and implementation tasks are limited as these projects are one component of the course requirements. In Capstone, the purpose is to provide students with a significant team project experience that involves a complex design and implementation task. The project involves a comprehensive research task with on- and off-campus clients and requires students to use a range of practices and techniques in solving the challenges of real-world issues. The Capstone project was first offered in spring 2011, for first-year and transfer students who had entered the various computing programs in September 2009.

Other experiential learning activities:

  • UMST 581 is a one-credit career development course that helps students establish their career goals and search for an internship.
  • Some CIS and CS students take independent study to work on projects of their own interests. We’ve had students with ideas of their own inventions and startups who conducted initial research and product prototyping through independent studies.

Learn more about the COMPUTER INFORMATION SYSTEMSCOMPUTER SCIENCE  and information technology programs

English Studies

Program Coordinator: Susanne Paterson

  • Internship required: One internship (180 hours) taken in the second-to-last semester of study is required for the major in Professional and Technical Communications.
  • Other experiential learning activities: Students in the Literary Studies program are required to take a Capstone course in their second-to-last semester and a Senior Colloquium in their final semester prior to graduation. The Capstone course has an applied component, in that students commit to a large research project. The Senior Colloquium allows students to continue the project-based learning that they were undertaking as part of their Capstone course.


homeland security

Program coordinator: James Ramsay

The Homeland Security (HLS) program is deeply committed to engaged and experiential student learning. To accomplish its program goals, the HLS program integrates several experiential and engaged learning opportunities: 

  • HLS 480 – Professional Skills in HLS.  In this interactive course, students engage the many professional aspects of being a security studies professional, including professional ethics, coping in complex organizations, and how to seek and win an internship as well as how to develop cover letters, resumes and to interview. 
  • HLS 510 – Fundamentals of Emergency Management.  Students learn about the fundamentals of emergency management. This course requires students to work with partners to develop an emergency management plan and then to design an exercise to test the plan.  Projects in HLS 510 are often conducted with community partners. 
  • HLS 515 – Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience.  Students are immersed in the concept of critical infrastructure risk management and security.  Students are required to develop a comprehensive risk evaluation for an organization.  Projects in HLS 515 are often conducted with community partners. 
  • HLS 760 - Strategic Planning and Decision Making.  Students learn about the strategic planning process and must critically evaluate an real organization’s strategic plan, identify pitfalls in decision making, and then suggest improvements as to how an organization might enhance their strategic plan or planning process. 
  • HLS 770 – HLS Internship.  All HLS majors must complete a minimum of a 180-hour internship that includes projects and direct student engagement in the security or preparedness operations of an organization. 
  • HLS 790 – Senior Capstone.  Students in capstone form into groups and then work directly with an agency or organization.  Capstone is a real consultancy where student groups perform a comprehensive risk assessment of an organization, then design countermeasures that mitigate the frequency or severity of identified risks and then subject their countermeasures to an economic analysis before presenting and providing their final product to the organization. 
Professional Writing Minor

Minor Coordinator: Susanne Paterson

  • Internship required: One 4-credit (180 hours) internship is required at any point during course of study. May be substituted for an internship the student is taking as part of his/her major requirements.


Public Service and Nonprofit Leadership

Program Coordinator: Stephen Pimpare

  • Internship required: Public Service program requires one 150-credit hours internship.

Other experiential learning activities:

  • PS 510 - Politics of Food typically incorporates a range of outside-the-classroom activities, which recently has included tours of Whole Foods by the general manager, an extended visit to an organic dairy farm in Goffstown and a day spent volunteering at the NH FoodBank. The course also typically requires an original research project that has recently had students interviewing students at local high school about their eating habits, gathering and comparing data on the nutritional value of school lunch programs throughout the state, conducting a survey of local farmers markets and so on.
  • After on-campus preparation and research, students in PS 514 - Model UN travel to Philadelphia for the national Model UN conference. They are assigned a country to represent, and for four days engage in discussion and debate with their peers representing other nations to resolve a particular problem or issue, applying the principles and knowledge of international politics in real-time.
  • In PS 515 - NH Politics in Action, students must identify a Bill currently working its way through the NH General Court (the state legislature) and actively advocate for or against it by writing letters, making phone calls, meeting with legislators or testifying before House or State Committees. This course culminates in a public Present & Defend exercise in which they must explain their Bill and why they support/oppose it and defend their position before members of various southern NH communities.
  • In POLT 595 - Smart Politics/Research Methods, each student must undertake a multi-methods project of original research, and those methods cannot all be built on secondary sources or library/online research only (so they must conduct interviews, surveys, gather original data and so on).
  • It its current form, POLT 750 - Politics of Poverty is part of a virtual international exchange program with An-Najah University in Palestine. As part of that, students in the course interview young people in NH working on issues of poverty/hunger/homelessness, produce a five-minute audio podcast reflecting on its meaning for civic and political engagement and share and discuss them with via video conference their Palestinian peers.


Psychology and neuropsychology

Program Coordinator: John Sparrow

  • Internship required (PSYC 793)

Other experiential learning opportunities:

  • Experiential and service learning is required for students in PSYC 581 - Child Development, PSYC 561 - Abnormal Psychology and PSYC 791 - Community-Based Research.
  • PSYC 511, 710 and 713 involve experiential activities including labs/demos where students collect data, analyze the information and summarize the results in writing. These activities involve measuring, for example, the size/location of their blind spots, visual contrast sensitivity, olfactory sensitivity, auditory frequency responses, loudness scaling, etc., in addition to replicating some classic studies in the field of cognitive psychology.
  • PSYC 795 - Independent Study. Students can work directly with faculty independentlyor in small groups to focus on topics of interests that are not covered through the current course offerings. Independent Studyprojects in Psychology and Neuropsychology often include conducting research and internships.

Learn more about the pSYCHOLOGY and neuropsychology programs

Stephen Pimpare


Stephen Pimpare
Senior Lecturer of American Politics & Public Policy




UNH Manchester CEEL Advisory Board

We are in the process of building an external advisory board. If you are interested in joining, please contact Stephen Pimpare.