Principles of Community Engagement Fellows

Here are the foundational principles that guide the Fellows program:

  • Place-based, collaborative teaching and learning is possible and valuable in every discipline; we should “learn as if the real world exists.”

  • Campus-community collaboration is an art; there is no formula you can use to teach someone how to do their work best.

  • Each of our campus-community collaborations will be better, and will improve over time, if the design is informed by the ideas of a supportive community of fellow practitioners.

  • Ideas for new collaborations should come both from those working within higher education and those outside of higher education.

  • High quality collaborations require strong relationships among the leaders.

  • Strong relationships take a significant amount of time to grow, and must be nurtured.

  • Collaborations should be allowed to evolve and shift over time, to adaptively meet the needs of everyone involved.

  • Many different skillsets and ways of thinking are needed to address the challenges of our region and planet.

  • We’re all in this together.

Kirsten Drickey and her students created Family Language Exchange nights that brought together Spanish and English-speaking families in Bellingham's Birchwood neighborhood

"The Community Engagement Fellows experience gave me time and space to reflect on how campus-community collaborations can enrich all involved. My time with the cohort was invaluable for thinking through the reasons why we do these projects, as well as hammering out the logistics for how best to carry them out."


-Kirsten Drickey



Our programming takes place on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples, who have lived in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades watershed, from time immemorial. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, particularly the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.

(For more information: WWU Tribal Relations)

Thank you to the numerous organizations that have empowered and continue to support this collaborative effort through co-sponsoring events and providing meeting space, expertise, and communication support. Special thanks to Eastern Washington University, Northwest Indian College, University of Puget Sound, Whatcom County Library System, and Whiteswan Environmental for their ongoing dedication to the work.

©2020 Community Engagement Fellows