Future Scholars

Are you ready for an immersive, engaged scholarship experience that strengthens the academic mission of the university, advances the public good, and addresses critical community needs? As a Charlotte Community Scholar, you will participate in a ten-week program structured around community-based learning and professional development opportunities, while reflecting on the challenges and rewards of working for the public good. Scholars grow in their capacity as engaged scholars, skilled employees, and democratic citizens. Browse the links on the left to learn about becoming a Charlotte Community Scholar.

Students who participate in undergraduate research are more likely to be admitted to and successfully complete graduate programs. Charlotte Community Scholars have the option of working full-time (40 hours/week) or part-time (20 hours/week) throughout the ten-week summer program. Full-time students can receive up to $5000 while part-time students can receive up to $2500 throughout the summer program. 

Admission Requirements

  • The CCS program is open to UNC Charlotte undergraduates who are rising sophomores, juniors, or seniors.
  • Students must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  • Students must be enrolled in the upcoming Fall semester in order to be eligible to participate. 
  • Full-time participants cannot attend summer school while simultaneously participating in the program. However, part-time participants can attend summer school during the CCS program.
  • Students must attend all CCS professional development training sessions and social events.
  • Students must attend and present at the Summer Research Symposium.
  • Students with previous engaged scholarship or community service experience will receive higher consideration.‚Äč

Proposed Calendar for 2020

January 13 - January 31 Scholar participation application open
March  CCS scholars notified of acceptance
May 26 - August 4 CCS Summer Research Program

CCS Expectations

  • Attend all CCS professional development training sessions and social events.  Excused absences must be approved in advance by the CCS Director, Dr. Heather Coffey.
  • Be committed to your engaged scholarship project and your community site and partners. This means that you establish a clear understanding of your work schedule and responsibilities with your community partner, and share that with your faculty mentor and the CCS program coordinator during the first week of the program.
  • Be committed to learning about and contributing in significant and meaningful ways to engaged scholarship. This means making regular contact with your CCS faculty mentor for guidance and direction on your research project.  The exact frequency of these interactions is largely up to your CCS faculty mentor, and in many instances this will be daily contact, but should at least be weekly contact.
  • Stay on task. You are responsible for committing 40 hours (if full-time) or 20 hours/week (if part-time) to your engaged scholarship project. These hours include all time spent at your community site, with your mentor, attending professional development training, or working independently on your project. Vacations and extended time away during the internship period cannot occur. You will be held accountable for the time spent on the project and the quality of your work.
  • Be professional in all interactions with community partners and community clients. Know and honor all confidentiality requirements or expectations. 
  • Complete all required deliverables by the specified deadlines. All deliverables should strictly adhere to the CCS specifications (TBA).
  • Check email daily, completely read all CCS messages, and reply promptly when information is requested.
  • Present a poster describing your engaged scholarship project at the Charlotte Summer Research Symposium to be held at the end of the program.
  • Report any needs or concerns regarding your project, mentor, or community site as soon as they develop to CCS Director Dr. Heather Coffey.
  • Complete the CCS program evaluation, which will be emailed to all scholars at the conclusion of the program.
  • Notify the CCS Director of any rewards you receive, professional meetings you attend, and/or research papers you present at professional meetings that correspond to this work. Acknowledge the Charlotte Community Scholars program on any publications, research posters, or professional presentations corresponding to this work.
  • Notify the CCS Director of any changes in your contact information (address, phone number, email) during the internship period.


Goals and Benefits of CCS Participation

The mission of the UNC Charlotte Community Scholars Program is to provide students with an immersive community-based research experience that strengthens the academic mission of the university, advances the public good, and addresses critical community needs. Students engage in community-based research and professional development opportunities while reflecting on the challenges and rewards of working for the public good. Students will grow in their capacities as engaged scholars, skilled employees, and democratic citizens. The community will benefit from deeper engagement with the university in addressing critical community needs.

Benefits to Students

The UNC Charlotte Community Scholars incorporates community-based learning, internships, and undergraduate research opportunities which are recognized as high impact educational practices that increase student retention and engagement through increased investments in time and effort in academic study, experiencing diversity, interaction with peers and faculty in meaningful contexts, and the relevance of knowledge in practical or real world applications. In addition to the academic benefits, research shows that students who participate in service-learning increase outcomes related to psycho-social and moral development, efficacy, empathy, personal and social responsibility, and commitment to public service after college. Many of these characteristics are desirable workplace and civic dispositions. Students who participate in engaged scholarship and service-learning report higher satisfaction with their college experience and are more confident in their career choices. 

Community scholars may work full-time (40 hours/week) or part-time (20 hours/week), depending on the needs of the community partner where they will be placed and the availability of the student. 

CCS participants cannot attend summer school while simultaneously participating in the program, unless they are part-time (20 hours/week). All students must be enrolled in the upcoming Fall semester to be eligible to participate.

CCS Student Learning Goals

  • Civic Learning - Students will expand their understanding of the value of public and democratic institutions, the principles of public life, knowledge of how to build democratic communities, and practical knowledge and applications of working on critical community needs.
  • Professional skills -  Students will develop professional skills that enhance employability or access to graduate education. These include leadership, ability to work with diverse communities, teamwork and collaboration, and interpersonal and professional communication skills.
  • Personal characteristics - Students will develop characteristics as a result of mentoring related to academic and career success, such as goal setting, planning, project management, and follow-through.
  • Engaged Research - Students will develop community-based research skills that may include needs assessment, program evaluation, or discipline specific and interdisciplinary knowledge applications that enhance employability or access to graduate education.
  • Cultural Competency Through Diverse Settings - Students will explore cultural assumptions and develop inclusive perspectives, resulting in the development of a sense of personal social responsibility and efficacy as community change agents.

CCS Activities

Mentoring - Each Community Scholar works closely with an assigned faculty mentor who has a relationship with the community partner where the student is placed.  The mentor will provide ongoing contact throughout the experience, and will be involved in helping the student develop and present all program deliverables.

Community-based Work - This is the experiential component of the Community Scholars Summer Program and places the student directly in a community work setting.  This component is similar to an internship in that students will assume a formal role in the organization and be a part of a real organizational work team. However, unlike an internship, the student will be working with community and university members to examine problems and their underlying causes, to identify barriers to change, to propose real solutions and/ or implement real interventions and evaluate their impact. Community partners will be co-mentors of students in coordination with faculty mentors.

Professional Development Training and Mentoring Training - Community scholars participate in the Undergraduate Research Symposium, as well as Professional Development Training sessions provided by the Office of Undergraduate Research:

  • Responsible conduct of research
  • Preparing and presenting a research poster
  • Preparing a 3-Minute Thesis
  • Thinking about graduate school

In addition to these, Community scholars also participate in Professional Development Training Sessions offered by the Community Scholars Summer program director, for a total of eight professional development sessions throughout the summer.  These will be offered weekly, on Wednesday afternoons from 3-5 p.m.

Engaged Research - The Community Scholar will work on engaged scholarship projects that may include needs assessment, program evaluation, benchmarking, or process improvement (formative) research.  All engaged experiences will involve the student in examining real-world problems and proposing viable solutions in a collaborative partnership with organizational and university members.  Students will learn the unique challenges of conducting applied research in dynamic environments. Students will also learn how to link real-world problems with best practices and solutions from their academic disciplines. The ultimate goal is to train students to use their knowledge and skills to be effective change agents in their communities.