Become a Community Engaged Scholar

Between the 2011-2012 and 2020-2021 academic years, 73 UNC Asheville students graduated with a Community Engaged Scholar distinction. The Community Engaged Scholar honor is one of five academic recognitions available to graduating students at UNC Asheville. It provides an opportunity for students to become deeply involved in community-based research and action in Asheville and Western North Carolina – and to receive recognition for their efforts.

Community Engaged Scholars complete six or more service learning credit hours, identify a faculty mentor, identify a community partner advisor, apply and are selected through an application process, complete a Community Engaged Project that directly responds to a need identified by a local non-profit organization, submit a reflective research paper, and present at the Undergraduate Research Symposium (see below for due dates).

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but require attendance at a Community Engaged Scholars Workshop to begin the review/approval process (see dates below). 


  • 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). Email to register for a workshop and receive a Zoom link to join.
  • Fill out and submit an Application Form with all required signatures.
  • Complete a Community Engaged Project with a local non-profit agency that directly responds to a need identified by that agency.
  • Complete a 7-10 page reflective 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 with all required signatures.

Timeline for Scholars Completing Project in Fall 2021* (all due by midnight): 

Timeline for Scholars Completing Project in Spring 2022 (all due by midnight):

Important Forms & Guidelines: 


Additional Details on Steps 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 Projectapplications 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.
  • Submit Application Signature form: due within one week of approval of project proposal/application. The signature form confirms that you, a faculty mentor, and a community partner are all committed to the success of this project. Scan and email the signature form to
  • Community Engaged Project: Do amazing work with with your non-profit community partner and faculty advisor on your project!
  • Complete project and product: Complete project as outlined in your proposal and turn in any products promised to your non-profit community partner (e.g., website, handbook, video, report, etc).
  • Research/reflection paper: first draft due by deadline listed below emailed 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 by deadline listed aboveSubmit Final Paper (with suggested faculty revisions) to
  • Completion Form: due by deadline listed below. Submit scanned copy with signatures to
  • 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

*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.