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About Cardinal Courses

Participants in DANCE 100

Community participants in Dance 100, " Dance, Movement & Medicine"

Photo: Damara Ganley

A Cardinal Course engages students in projects and partnerships in the community that address social or environmental challenges. Though projects and partnerships vary, all Cardinal Courses:

  • Engage with a community to address a social problem or societal need
  • Integrate course objectives and community-based experiences
  • Produce reciprocal benefits for students, faculty, and community partners
  • Provide opportunities to critically examine public issues and explore one's civic identity
  • Embody the Haas Center's Principles of Ethical and Effective Service

Cardinal Courses may feature service as an integral component of the academic course experience, focus on public service as subject matter, or offer preparation for public service internships or fieldwork. Cardinal Courses are offered by a wide range of academic departments to give Stanford students an opportunity to provide direct service to schools, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. Other courses allow students already engaged in service to enhance the effectiveness of their work.

Cardinal Courses may be small, intensive seminars or larger lecture courses with community engaged learning related discussion sections and experiences. Service elements may include hands-on volunteer activities, internships at local organizations, or class projects that benefit a community or partner organization.


Cardinal Course Assistants:

Community Engaged Learning Coordinators (CELCs) are undergraduate students employed to support Cardinal Course faculty. They are typically students who have previously taken the course or have an existing relationship with the faculty member or community partner. CELCs gain valuable experience in community engaged learning pedagogy, program management, and public service; faculty can rely on their CELC to reduce their administrative workload, enhance class discussions, and help students with projects.

Please contact Sarah McShea if you are interested in serving as a CELC.