Community Engagement

San Diego State University (SDSU) has a comprehensive community engagement portfolio that is administered and integrated into the work of each of its major divisions; Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Campus Diversity, Business and Financial Affairs and University Advancement. The management of SDSU’s community engagement efforts are decentralized, organized independently as appropriate to their context and function. Within Academic Affairs, an Associate Dean in each of the seven colleges and the SDSU Imperial Valley campus serve as the designated administrators to approve all community-campus partnerships for research, service learning courses and academic internships. In Student Affairs, Career Services and Jeffrey W. Glazer Center for Leadership & Service manage student experiential and civic learning through participation in internships and/or community service; these activities also include efforts by the Associated Students and its community partners. In Business and Financial Affairs, through its Contract and Procurement Management unit, the Division administers the “risk management” and compliance aspects of community engagement. In the Division of University Advancement, its Alumni Engagement unit maintains broad community and campus efforts throughout the San Diego region and beyond with programming targeted at SDSU's alumni family. The University has also established an Office of Community Affairs and Goverment Relations. This office is part of the Strategic Communications and Public Affairs unit.

In addition, and as part of the Division of Academic Affairs, the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement administers the Service Learning and Community Engagement Program. This program is led by the Director of Service Learning Vinod Sasidharan, Ph.D., and the Director of Community Engagement, Jose Preciado, M.A.T. Both directors liaise with the California State University's Center for Community Engagement. The director of Service Learning leads efforts to expand course offerings and to support faculty participation from throughout the academic colleges and the SDSU Imperial Valley campus. The director of Community Engagement supports faculty, staff and students with initial planning efforts for new community-engaged learning activities.

  • Division of Academic Affairs- Colleges and SDSU Imperial Valley 
    Most community engagement efforts are led by individual faculty. The faculty in consultation with their department chairs or school directors, carryout major aspects of establishing community partnerships for research, their existing or new courses or as general community service activities. The designated associate deans in each of the colleges and SDSU Imperial Valley finalize all new partnerships by approving the Service Learning Agreements (SLAs). Service Learning Agreements are required if students are enrolled in coursework that requires field work such as internships or courses with community-based components. Some community efforts led by faculty have optional community activities or single day efforts such a field trip or service day. These may not require and SLA. Each community engagement opportunity is then evaluated on a case-by-case basis and may require varying levels of review or approvals. All students going off campus as part of a course should sign a liability waiver form.
  • Division of Student Affairs and Campus Diversity and the Associated Students
    The Jeffrey W. Glazer Center for Leadership & Service
    supports student community service, community-engaged curriculum and philanthropy efforts by promoting and tracking individual and recognized student organization service hours and activities. SDSU students annually perform over 80,000 hours of community service within the San Diego community and the bi-national region of southern California and Northern Baja, Mexico. Students obtaining 100 hours of service are provided a community service certificate. The office also supports the leadership development of students leading community service efforts. SDSU student organizations are recognized nationally for the service and philanthropy efforts.
  • Division of Business and Financial Affairs 
    Contract & Procurement Management (CPM) is the legal holder of all campus agreements, including the Service Learning Agreement (SLA) and templates (which includes the standard and amendment SLA templates).  The University SLA standard template was created in 2010 using the sample template found in the CSU Resource Guide for Managing Risk in Service Learning as a guide and was a collaboration between CPM, Risk Management and General Counsel at the Chancellor’s Office, with input provided by College Deans and Student Affairs.  Revisions are made to the template when CPM and Risk Management determine there are changes in legal terms within.

    The SLA is required by the CSU anytime a student is engaged in a service learning activity while enrolled in a course for academic credit.  Internships, volunteerism, or other types of experiential learning that are not tied to a course for credit, are not considered service learning, and therefore there is no agreement between the University and the other entity.  

    The SLA is routed electronically, via Adobe Sign, by the campus department initiating the service learning experience.  Once completed and approved by the learning activity site, and the University College representatives, CPM signs as the authorized University signatory. 

    Beyond signing the agreement, CPM is also involved anytime a learning activity site requests changes to our standard template, or want to use their own agreement template.  CPM may work with Risk Management and/or General Counsel for any requested changes to the legal terms, and with the campus department(s) for any requested changes to the business terms.  Once a mutual agreement is made, the SLA is returned to the campus department(s) to complete the routing process electronically.  

    Once the SLA is fully executed, the agreement is attached to a record and stored in Oracle.

  • Division of University Advancement 
    SDSU Alumni is engaged with its 430,482 alumni by building lifetime relationships among Aztecs through engagement including career support, mentorship, and partnerships while offering exclusive community events, discounts and travel experience. Some examples of celebrating our academic community are the SDSU Alumni Distinguished Faculty Awards which honour faculty contributions to SDSU. Additionally, we engage our successful alumni through the SDSU Alumni Awards of Distinction which honor alumni who have made significant contributions in their career, life and added value to the SDSU Community. We will honour our under 40 alumnae/i in the coming year through the Rising Aztecs Awards. We further enhance the engagement of all alumni through the Aztecs hiring Aztec program, Aztec Mentor Program, Lifetime Membership, social media and text-to-mobile communications. We interact with over 175,000 alumni through our monthly e-newsletter that has a reach locally, regionally, nationally and internally. SDSU Alumni regularly invites our alumnae/i to return to campus, partner with the university or support student success in various ways. We seek their valuable input through meetings, surveys and focus groups to better understand their needs and desire to interact with SDSU. 
  • Strategic Communications and Public Affairs
    Housed within Strategic Communications and Public Affairs (StratComm) is Government and Community Relations, the campus unit responsible for supporting campus initiatives that strengthen university partnerships with elected officials and community organizations. Related to community affairs, StratComm facilitates both open and ongoing dialogue and engagement with the community, to include those neighboring the university as well as those across the San Diego region. Through this work, StratComm supports and creates opportunities for community leaders and groups to engage with students, faculty and staff in ways that are mutually beneficial, and supportive of advancing the university’s mission while contributing to social and economic growth.