Become a Community Engaged Scholar

Between the 2011-2012 and 2019-2020 academic years, 69 UNC Asheville students have graduated with the Community Engaged Scholar distinction. The Community Engaged Scholar honor is one of five academic recognitions available to graduating students at UNC Asheville. It provides the opportunity for students to become deeply involved in community based research in Asheville and Western North Carolina – and receive recognition for their efforts. Community Engaged Scholars complete six or more service learning credit hours, are selected via application process reviewed by the Key Center Advisory Committee, identify a faculty mentor, identify a community partner advisor, complete a Community Engaged Project alongside a local non-profit agency that directly responds to a need identified by that agency, submit a research paper, and present at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. (see below for deadlines)

Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis, but require a meeting (which counts as a workshop) with Key Center staff to being the review/approval process. Please email Kate Johnson at to schedule your meeting (expect about an hour).

How to Become a Community Engaged Scholar

  • Service learning courses: Take at least 1 Service Learning Designated course before beginning the Community Engaged Scholar application process. A second completed service learning course is not required to begin work on the project, but required to graduate with CES distinction.To graduate with the CES distinction, scholars must receive at least a B- in both service learning designated courses.
  • Propose a Community Engaged Project: applications being accepted on a rolling basis. Please note: check the “send me a copy of my responses” box and save your confirmation email. You will need this information to edit your application after it has been reviewed.
  • Complete signature form: due upon approval of project proposal/application (date negotiable). The signature form confirms that you, a faculty mentor, and a community partner are all committed to the success of this project. Drop signature form off by the Key Center (211 Highsmith Student Union) or scan and email to *While UNC Asheville is operating under special conditions, an email communication from the faculty mentor and community partner advisor that include a project description, confirm they are willing to serve in the role of mentor or advisor, and indicate they support the project being proposed by the Scholar will be accepted in lieu of the signature form.*
  • Community Engaged Project: Do amazing with with your non-profit community partner and faculty advisor on your project!
  • Project title and abstract: due DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED to Undergraduate Research via their Symposium registration process and to
  • Complete project and product: Complete project as outlined in your proposal and turn in any products promised to your non-profit community partner (i.e. website, handbook, video, report, etc).
  • Research/reflection paper: first draft due Monday November 1, 2020, email to The paper will be reviewed and returned for revisions. Guidelines for the paper will be provided by the Key Center.
  • Research poster: Create poster that represents your project. Guidelines for the poster will be provided by the Key Center.
  • Undergraduate Research Symposium: Date To Be Announced. Present poster at Undergraduate Research Symposium as a part of the Celebration of Community Engaged Learning.
  • Final Paper: due Friday November 20, 2020. Submit Final Paper (with suggested faculty revisions) to
  • Completion Form: Friday November 20, 2020. Submit scanned copy with signatures to or drop off original with signatures to Key Center (211 Highsmith).
  • Graduation: Graduating seniors will be emailed when CES certificate and graduation cords are available for pick up in the Key Center, 211 Highsmith Student Union.


  • Complete six or more academic credit hours in service-learning designated courses (usually two courses). They are indicated by an SL notation beside the course listed on the Registrar’s website. You must earn a grade of B- or above in each course.
  • Complete a Community Engaged Scholar Workshop (in person with quiz, dates listed below). *While UNC Asheville is operating under special conditions, interested students will meet virtually one on one rather than attend a workshop email to coordinate a meeting time. 
  • Complete a Community Engaged Project with a local non-profit agency that directly responds to a need identified by that agency.
  • Complete a 6-8 page research paper that outlines the Community Engaged Project, including the learning that came from it.
  • Present the Community Engaged Program at the Undergraduate Research Symposium/Celebration of Community Engaged Learning (scheduled at the end of each fall and spring semester).
  • Fill out and submit a Completion Form will all required signatures.

*Community Engaged Scholar project process is not intended to be completed in one semester. Approval to do so, because of special circumstances, may be requested. 

2020 Community Engaged Scholar Workshops

  • While UNC Asheville is operating under special conditions, interested students will meet virtually one on one rather than attend a workshop email to coordinate a meeting time.
  • Interested students graduating in December 2020 must schedule a meeting before the end of May 2020. Fall 2020 workshops (dates below) will be geared towards students completing their projects in Spring 2021


Timeline for Scholars Completing Project in Fall 2020


  • Tuesday, September 1st, 2020 12pm-1pm
  • Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 12pm-1pm
  • Tuesday, September 8th, 2020  12pm-1pm
  • Monday, Sept 21st: Applications due
  • Monday, Oct 5th: Signature forms due
  • Date To Be Announced: Project Title & Abstract due, Register for Symposium
  • Monday, Nov 1st: First draft due
  • Date To Be Announced: Undergrad Research Symposium
  • Friday, Nov 20th: Final Paper, Completion form due