History & Timeline

Rutgers Collaborative Center: History Timeline

Rutgers Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service evolved from the university's mission and commitment to teaching, research, and service. Service-learning and community engagement as part of institutional practice at Rutgers University-New Brunswick began in 1988 when then-President Edward J. Bloustein, in his commencement address, called for integrating community-engaged service into academic life as a solution for two major and interconnected societal concerns: first, the persistence of racism, sexism, and other forms of bias, and related xenophobia and fear; second, an over-emphasis on individualism that diminished civic engagement. This 1988 call to action was subsequently endorsed by the university’s Board of Governors, which reaffirmed the university’s commitment as a public institution to citizenship, diversity, and service, conceptually linking these themes through community engagement. In 1988 Rutgers-New Brunswick established Citizenship and Service Education (CASE). This program evolved to become the Civic Engagement and Service Education Partnership (CESEP) and in 2012, the Rutgers Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service (Collaborative Center). We highlight events that have supported community engagement and partnerships for the public good at Rutgers-New Brunswick.

  • 2018  A new Office for Diversity, Inclusion, and Civic Engagement (ODICE) is established, operationalizing the alignment of Community Engagement with Diversity and Inclusion. 

  • 2016 Rutgers-New Brunswick joins Campus Compact and New Jersey Campus Compact. Rutgers Collaborative Center is a member of the New Jersey Campus Compact Civic Leadership Committee.

  • 2012 Incoming 20th President Barchi's strategic planning includes an Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) on each campus. Under Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Richard Edwards, the CESEP Program is transitioned into the newly established ODI at Rutgers-New Brunswick and designated Rutgers Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service.

  • 2011 The President's Task Force for New Brunswick Community-University Research Partnerships develops best practices for successful community-university research partnerships.

  • 2010 Rutgers-New Brunswick is recognized by the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, an elective designation that recognizes institutional commitment to and practice of community engagement in the curriculum, in co-curricular activity, and in faculty scholarship. CESEP holds its first Year-End Celebration Awards, bringing together students, faculty, and community partners to recognize their achievements.

  • 2009 The School of Arts & Sciences Curriculum Committee endorses CESEP's Civic Scholar and International Civic Scholar Certificate Programs that confer recognition on students' transcripts for their engaged scholarship and service at Rutgers-New Brunswick. CESEP joins the national consortium of colleges and universities led by the Bonner Foundation to promote access to education and service to community, establishing the Bonner Leaders Program at Rutgers-New Brunswick. CESEP leads the statewide "Learning to End Hunger" Campaign in support of the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition's efforts to end childhood hunger in New Jersey by 2015. CESEP supports development of a model Food Stamp Outreach Campaign and Farm-to School initiatives.


  • 2008 Dr. Maurice Elias, academic director of CESEP, convenes the Community Council, consisting of eighteen community organizations informs to advise on  community partnership goals. Public Scholarship and Service Internships are approved by the School of Arts & Sciences Curriculum Committee, allowing departments without a service-learning course to integrate a service-learning component into any course.  Public Scholarship and Service-Learning Course Development grants are offered to faculty to increase the number of service-learning courses available to students.

  • 2007 The CASE Program is transitioned to Civic Engagement and Service Education Partnerships (CESEP) under the Associate Vice Present for Academic and Public Partnerships and Dr. Maurice Elias, Professor of Psychology, School of Arts & Sciences, is named academic director.  Dr. Elias convenes a Faculty Council to advise on integrating community engagement and service with academic coursework. View more here.  


Rutgers Collaborative Center

640 Bartholomew Road

Busch Campus

Piscataway, New Jersey 08854

United States

T (848) 932 8660

F (732) 445 4231

E civic@odi.rutgers.edu

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