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. This minor highlights the role of community-engaged research (CEnR), an approach to problem solving based on academic-community collaboration. Problem solving through CEnR leads to both scholarly and community benefits.
CEnR skills developed in the Community Research and Service (CRS) minor complement 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. The following three themes define the minor.
- Analytics of Prosperity: understanding data and using scientific measures to ensure that our activities actually improve quality of life
- 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 via collaboration that values local knowledge.
CRS coursework and field experiences engage students in these themes while working with non-profit, government, 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.
Lower Division Minor Requirement [4 units]
Upper Division Minor Requirements [16 units]
One upper division course in the area of “methods” [4 units]
“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.
Two upper division courses that explore sustainability, analytics of prosperity, or community engaged innovation [8 units]
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
One community-based undergraduate research course* [4 units]
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
- 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.