About the Center

Our Mission

The mission of the CCE is to promote community partnerships, initiatives, and research which enhance student learning and meet community needs. The Center also aims to strengthen the experiential understanding and commitment of our students to civic engagement.

Our Definitions

Sam Houston State University uses the Carnegie Foundation definition of community engagement:

Community engagement describes collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.

The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching, and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues, and contribute to the public good.

The CCE defines community engaged scholarship as a type of scholarly work or creative activity that has the explicit goal of contributing to the public good.

Elements of Community Engaged (CES) scholarship include: 

  • Focus on community-based problems, 
  • Shared decision-making with community partner(s) throughout the scholarly process, 
  • Involvement of community stakeholders in the co-production of knowledge, 
  • Collaboration with community(s) to translate and implement findings, 
  • Dissemination of findings to relevant publics, 
  • Creation of applied solutions to public issues. 

The History of the CCE


The American Democracy Project Steering Committee was created by Dr. Payne, the Provost, to promote and coordinate community engagement activities campus-wide.


The SHSU Center for Leadership and Service began to organize volunteer opportunities with local non-profits.


SHSU became a member of Campus Compact, the national organization for civic engagement.


The formation of the Engaged Scholars Committee was approved by the Council of Deans to support faculty in their efforts to connect learning objectives and community participation.


ACE approved courses were given the ACE designation on class schedules and co-curricular transcripts.


Sam Houston State University was recognized as a 2010 Community Engaged Campus by the Carnegie Foundation (a ten year designation).


President Dana Hoyt established the fourth University Excellence Award: The David Payne Excellence in Academic Community Engagement Award (in honor of Dr. Payne, who began this initiative).


The Center for Community Engagement (CCE) was established by Provost Jaimie Hebert and operates under the Office of Academic Affairs.


Sam Houston State University was yet again recognized as a Community Engaged Campus by the Carnegie Foundation.

A Message from our Former President

At Sam Houston State University, Academic Community Engagement is an essential part of who we are and what we are about. We firmly believe that the role of a regional comprehensive university is to actively collaborate with and contribute to the well being of the communities it serves. In the seven academic colleges, and indeed in every department across campus, our curriculum provides varied opportunities to gain and apply knowledge and skills to make life better. We have many inspiring examples of SHSU students, faculty and staff making a difference. While students are on our campuses, and then as they continue their professional and personal lives, we encourage and challenge them to live our motto, "The measure of a life is its service."

- Dana G. Hoyt, Former President - Oversaw the Creation of the CCE

  • A group of CCE Advisory Board members at a meeting.
    CCE Advisory Board Meeting
    Members of the Center for Community Engagement's Advisory Board gather to discuss how university and community can better connect.
  • Representative John Lewis signing his book for a Huntsville elementary school student.
    Representative John Lewis Visits SHSU
    Representative and civil rights activist John Lewis signs copies of his book during his visit to campus as part of the National Book Awards program.
  • Will Allen speaking with guests at the event.
    Will Allen Visits SHSU for the Common Reader Program
    Urban gardener and author Will Allen tours the Bearkat Community Gardens during his visit to campus for the Common Reader Program.