UC Merced’s purposeful location in the San Joaquin Valley and nearby Sierra Nevada, a region characterized by disadvantages in the environment, economics, education, health, and civic engagement, invites this academic program that focuses on ways to transform poverty into prosperity. Addressing the complexity of local, regional and global poverty requires the knowledge and problem solving strategies from diverse academic fields and skills for working effectively with non-academic community members and organizations. This minor highlights the role of community-engaged research (CEnR), an approach to problem solving based on academic-community collaboration. Research in CEnR engages academic and community members as peers throughout the research process: from conceptualizing the problem to dissemination and application of research findings. Problem solving through CEnR leads to both scholarly and community benefits.
CEnR skills developed in the Community Research and Service (CRS) minor complement and enhance training provided in all academic majors. Students can apply the concepts and research methods they have learned in engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, or arts to improving the quality of life locally, regionally, and more broadly. Of equal importance, the minor engages students with community members (especially those experiencing and addressing poverty, inequity and social justice) as essential sources of education and training. Hands-on opportunities to learn through academic and community experiences prepare students for their professional goals and for personal and community leadership. The following three themes define the minor.
- Analytics of Prosperity: understanding data and using scientific methods to ensure that research and community work effectively to improve societal goals for equity and social justice,
- Sustainability: taking environmentally, economically, and socially sound approaches to growing prosperity, and
- Community-engaged innovation: identifying new problems and solving old problems in new ways through collaboration that values local knowledge, especially of those experiencing the target problems or concerns.
CRS coursework and field experiences engage students in these themes while working with non-profits, government and civic organizations, and industry partners on real-life problems in the San Joaquin Valley and nearby Sierra Nevada. Problems within these regions often have analogues in other national and international emerging economies, which may facilitate collaboration and training opportunities outside UC Merced’s region. Central to the CRS minor is an experience that provides students with practical research and collaborative problem solving that is intended to enhance professional development including skills that are sought out by professional and community leaders.
To be awarded a minor in Community Research and Service, students must successfully complete at least 20 units.
Lower Division Minor Requirement [4 units]
Upper Division Minor Requirements [16 units]
Upper Division “Methods” Course [4 units]
Complete one upper division course in the area of “methods”. “Methods” refers to the fundamental course(s) in each academic discipline that prepare students in ways of designing and conducting research; asking and answering questions and analyzing results; and producing creative works. This list is illustrative and not exhaustive. Students must receive approval from the CRS Minor Faculty Advisor for any course not listed here.
Sustainability, Analytics of Prosperity, or Community Engaged Innovation [8 units]
Complete two upper division courses that explore sustainability, analytics of prosperity, or community engaged innovation. This list is illustrative and not exhaustive. Students must receive approval from the CRS Minor Faculty Advisor for any course not listed here.
Community Engaged Innovation
Community Engaged Research (CEnR) course* [4 units]
Four total units, chosen from the following:
- CRS 195: Community Research and Service Experience [1-4 units]
- SSHA, SOE, or SNS discipline-based 195 course
- PH 181: Public Health Research [4 units]
- ENGR 197: Engineering Service Learning [1-2 units]
* Students must complete CRS 010 prior to completing the undergraduate research experience in order for it to count toward the CRS minor. For any exception, students must submit a petition to be approved by Community Research and Service faculty advisor.
For a course to count as Community Engaged Research (CEnR), it must have the following criteria:
a) Non-academic/community collaborator(s)
b) Relevance to the population where the research will take place
c) Engages non-academic/community collaborator(s) in research process
d) Has a clear plan for sharing the results of research with relevant community stakeholders
As new courses become available they will be added as options to the upper division electives. A list of course offerings each semester that can count for this requirement will be made available to students. Students may be able to satisfy the requirements for the minor using additional courses that are not listed. However, students must receive approval from the CRS Minor Faculty Advisor before completion of their course work.
Community Research and Service Minor Program Learning Outcomes
Graduates with a minor in Community Research and Service will demonstrate the knowledge, skill, ability, attitude and disposition to:
- Analyze core knowledge about local San Joaquin Valley and Sierra Nevada conditions including global analogs as related to the transformation of poverty to prosperity.
- Apply the key concepts of analytics of prosperity, sustainability, and community-engaged innovation.
- Organize scholarly questions of significance, and synthesize evidence to answer these questions.
- Develop relationships with community members and organizations to facilitate community engaged research.
- Communicate scientific and scholarly information to academic and non-academic audiences.
The following guidelines pertain to all SSHA minors:
- To complete any SSHA minor, students must complete a minimum of five courses, at least four of which must be upper division.
- All courses must be taken for a letter grade.
- All minor course requirements must be completed with a C- or better.
- A minimum overall grade point average of 2.0 (C) in upper division courses is required. The only exception is a minor in Arts, for which the minimum GPA in upper division courses is 2.7 (B-).
- At least three of the five required courses must be taken at UC Merced.
- Only one course may be used simultaneously to satisfy requirements for two minors.
- Only one course may be used to satisfy both a minor and a major requirement.
- Students must consult the UC Merced General Catalog for prerequisites to required courses.