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

  • Two semesters of field experience required: During their senior year, students are paired with practitioners (interpreters) to shadow them and do some supervised interpreting work in actual situations. Students also attend the seminar part of the course which occurs every other week.
  • Other experiential learning activities: We have recently added ASL labs to all six ASL courses that are required for the major. All of the ASL lab facilitators are Deaf, native ASL signers. In the first two ASL labs, students engage in communication-related activities that reinforce their learning in the ASL courses (by communicating with a Deaf, ASL signer, etc.). In the next two ASL labs, students invite members of the Deaf community into class via videophone and interview them, as well as discuss various topics in the lab. In the last two ASL labs, students are placed in the community with various Deaf people and meet every three weeks for the seminar portion of the lab. The interpreting labs are all taught by nationally-certified interpreters. Students practice interpreting, learn about communicating with DeafBlind people, working within an interpreting team (i.e., interpreters often work in pairs for lengthy or highly-demanding assignments), etc. Deaf and DeafBlind people, as well as other nationally-certified interpreters, are invited to participate in these activities, as appropriate. In the upper level Interpreting classes, Deaf people come in to class several times throughout the semester to participate in mock interpreting scenarios for student practice.


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. This is part of a national competitive program in which UNH Manchester has done very well over past the 8 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 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 not required, but for those students who do choose to do an internship, we accept up to four credits for use in satisfying major degree requirements.
  • Other experiential learning activities: Students in CA 615 - Film History/Method work collaboratively to research, develop, design, promote and carry out a 90-minute walking tour of old theater sites in downtown Manchester. The tour is open to the public and usually attracts a handful of people from the community, even though it doesn’t involve a specific community partner.


Computer Information Systems and Computer Science

Program Coordinator: Michael Jonas

  • Internship required: COMP 690 embeds students in a company for a semester-long professional internship in computing-related fields. This course requires 150 onsite hours, in-class progress presentations, a poster presentation at the Undergraduate Research Conference and/or Winter symposium and a final project report.
  • 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.
    • The COMP 790 Capstone project course requires students complete an in-house, team-based research project. The Capstone is an undergraduate research project done in collaboration by all computing majors each spring semester.
    • 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.


Digital Language Arts, Literary Studies and Professional and Technical Communications

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 and the Digital Language Arts programs 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.


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.



Program Coordinator: John Sparrow
Experiential learning opportunities:

  • Experiential and service learning is required for students in PSYC 581 - Child Development, PSYC 791 - Adult Development and PSYC 791 - Community-Based Research.
  • PSYCH 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.


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.