SHSU Motto: The measure of a life is its service.

What Does ACE Mean to You?

Gaining an Academic Community Engagement (ACE) designation for your course(s) is both easy and beneficial. According to the National Survey for Students Engagement Annual Report (2002), "Community Engagement provides students with opportunities to synthesize, integrate and apply their knowledge. Such experience makes learning more meaningful and ultimately more useful because what students know becomes part of who they are." Other research has found that ACE enhances academic performance and has shown to have a significant positive effect on GPA, writing skills, critical thinking skills, and a commitment to community service, self–efficacy and leadership ability.

You may, in fact, already be using ACE curriculum in your courses, you just haven't realized it! As of the spring 2013, over 174 courses received ACE designation.

ACE courses require:

  • A minimum of 9 documented number of hours of community engagement per student
  • A link between course objectives and community engagement
  • Demonstrated link between community engagement activity and a grade
  • A written reflection about the experience (can be for a grade or a completion grade)
  • Statements in the syllabus about community engagement:
    • For example: "Community Engagement: In this course, you will not only learn knowledge and skills, but also actively use them to make a difference in our community to improve the quality of life. This experience, it is hoped, will help you see yourself as a positive force in this world and deepen your understanding of your role as a citizen."

Faculty Benefits

The University's Faculty Evaluation System (FES) policy was modified to include the incorporation of civic engagement, service-learning, community-based teaching strategies or internships. A new University award, The David Payne ACE Scholar Award, has been established to annually recognize an outstanding faculty member engaging in ACE courses. Only faculty teaching ACE courses are eligible for the $5,000 award. There are also many avenues through which to publish research relating to the integration of community engagement and curriculum.

ACE Online Application

Faculty Testimonials

I have adapted the MCOM1332 Writing for Mass Media curriculum to reflect the objectives of ACE. I believe that civic engagement helps students learn to network with the community in order to get their stories and that it provides opportunities for real world experience through writing about community non-profit organizations, which is where many of our graduates will begin their media writing careers. – Carol Cooper

ACE courses provide connections between the students and the community not found in traditional lecture based classes. Students become aware that they are stake-holders in society and that they have the power to shape the future. – Debbie Hatton

In order to stay on top of the technology evolution, our Information Resources Department has a policy to rotate campus computers every four years. When I saw all the discarded computers, I realized that some of them could still be salvaged, and I knew my students were the ones to do it. I know sometimes schools in rural areas cannot afford to provide students with anything but the bare minimum, and as a mother, I wanted to do something special for these children. – Li Jen Shannon

Local businesses have limited resources to be able to optimize their operational processes. Students in my course studied concepts relating to process/ facility optimization, and they applied the concepts to a specific local business. They worked closely with the business owner and presented the results in person at the end of the semester. - Jeremy Bellah, MGMT 4370 Operations Management

For over a decade, the core graduate marketing course has been taught using the ACE pedagogy. The course is designed to engage the student in the application of managerial principles in the development and execution of marketing strategy. The course takes an analytically approach to strategy formation as it relates to marketing management activities of enterprises. Focus is on the development of a strategic framework for decision making by creating a Marketing Plan for a for-profit or non-for-profit entity, using the resources of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). This past spring semester, students assisted “Elite Repeat”, a retail store affiliated with the SAAFE House in Huntsville. Over fifteen marketing recommendations were made to members of the board, all of which could be implemented within their annual marketing budget. - Sanjay S. Mehta, MKTG5330 Marketing Management

Small businesses often struggle to learn about and utilize information technology, making it more difficult for them to compete with larger companies. The main course objectives of improving critical thinking, problem-solving, learning how to find and use resources and acquiring team work skills are supported by SHSU students acting as IT/IS consultants through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), while helping the local businesses to survive and thrive with technology. In the last 4 years these students have documented over 400 hours of consulting for 10 real world clients, as well as giving the SBDC information to help 5 other clients. One SBDC fulltime consultant involved with the process has said "the recommendations they provide for each client provide extremely valuable information for the individual clients, as well as for my reference with other client projects...The community service that is provided for Huntsville is greatly appreciated." - Janis Warner, MGIS 3360 Systems Analysis & Design

Non-profit organizations are heavily dependent on support from external funding sources, but often lack the time or expertise to develop effective fund-raising messages. A part of this course involves teaching students to adapt a variety of business messages to different audiences with an emphasis on the psychological development of the message. For one community partner, students developed a series of successful persuasive/sales messages targeted to different audiences in the Walker County community. For other community partners who may be unfamiliar with current business technology and information retrieval, students have researched various business topics in SHSU’s business databases, have written formal reports, and have presented their findings in formal oral presentations to their clients as part of their business communication curriculum. - Lucia S. Sigmar, MGMT 5390 Strategic Management Kavanaugh

The business community, small business especially, is always in need of consulting assistance to help owners/managers think through the issues facing their businesses, and craft workable solutions. The MBA capstone course in management meets this need by providing student consulting teams to conduct a strategic review of the firm’s business operations and strategy, and make recommendations for performance improvement. The student team identifies its client firm and, over the course of the semester, performs an in-depth analysis of the firm, its industry, its competitive environment and competitors, its current strategy and market position, and its financial position. The team then formulates specific, actionable recommendations and rationale for enhancing firm performance. Overall, the market value of such consulting services is estimated to be $15,000 per client. - Kavanaugh, MGMT 5390 Strategic Management

Because of high children/teacher ratio in public schools, it is difficult to meet the needs of all children, especially in the area of high stakes testing subjects like reading. Because literacy assessment and instruction is part of my course work, SHSU students work closely with the second grade teachers at Reaves Elementary school and tutor struggling readers. - Joyce McCauley, READ 3370 The Teaching of Reading

Faculty Links

Teaching ACE

Liability Information

Publishing in ACE

ACE Awards & Recognition

Sam Houston State Logo

Sam Houston State University | Huntsville, Texas 77341 | (936) 294-1111 | (866)BEARKAT Member TSUS
© Copyright Sam Houston State University | All rights reserved. | Contact Web Editor