Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to complete the Certificate program in 4 semesters?
No you do not. The beauty of the Certificate program is it is not time-bound. However, in order to receive the Certificate, you must complete all of the Civic Values, forms, and activities one month before your graduation date.

What is in this for me?
Completion of the Certificate results in a notation on your transcript. This is a University Nebraska-Lincoln sponsored program and is something you may reference on a resume. Completion of the Certificate indicates that you have taken time to focus on, and examine your personal values, passion, leadership, diversity, communications, coursework, and how they interconnect to create positive change in a community. The concepts, lessons, and ideas you learn from the program can be applied to other aspects of life, including professional school, and future employment.

I'm not sure I have extra time to volunteer. Can I still complete this program?
The Center for Civic Engagement stresses the importance service-learning. The purpose is to give time to an organization in order to better understand social issues and meet community identified needs. Volunteering is a component of service-learning where an individual responds to a specific need. While volunteering includes intent and reflection, service-learning is in the process. Service and service-learning challenges individuals to understand themselves and identify their personal values in order to become more educated and involved citizens.

The Certificate program gives you "credit" for service-learning you are already doing. Service-learning activities might include work, class requirements (e.g. practicum teaching), internships, clubs, service trips, study abroad experiences, or hobbies,. This program does not require a certain number of hours to be completed.

Why do I have to attend/complete an education session before coming to a meeting?
The educational aspects of the program are meant to provide you the foundation you will need to complete your action plans, to increase your existing knowledge, and to challenge you to think in a different way. By challenging the way you normally think you are able to learn new concepts and ideas as you focus on each value.

What are the options for action plans?
We are only limited by what we can’t think of. There are no limits or restrictions on action plan topics. As long as the activity is applicable, reasonable, and able to be documented, it can be worked into an action plan. Ask your coach for examples and ideas.

Do I have to use the same activity for every value?
No you do not. There are a variety of activities you may use for each Civic Engagement (CE) Value. For example, you could use Teammates for CE Value 1, student teaching for CE Value 2, and a medical mission to Guatemala for CE Value 3 and 4. However, if you wish to use the same activity for every value, you may. This program focuses on you and your growth.

Is reflective journaling required?
It is not. Commonly, journaling is used by many students as a way to document what they are doing throughout the semester. However, it is not the only way to document your outcomes. Other options include talking with your coach about what you are doing, taking photos, making a video, providing meeting notes, examples of activities done, etc. The intent is for you to learn from what you are doing and reflection is a way to assist you.

What happens if I don’t achieve my action objectives but I do fulfill the outcomes of the Civic Engagement Value?
If upon completion of the semester or your activity, you find you did not achieve the objectives you originally wrote, don’t worry. Look to see if you fulfilled the outcomes associated with each value. It is possible to fulfill an outcome without accomplishing the objectives you created for the outcome. In this case, include your critical reflection, what you thought would happen, what did end up happening, and how what you learned or realized after doing the activity still fulfills the outcomes of the CE Value. Any questions should be directed towards your coach.

I'm taking/took a course I believe displays aspects of one of the values and ties in with the certificate program, but is not listed as one of the accepted courses. Is there any way I can count it towards my required courses for this program?
The answer depends on whether or not the student is currently in the class or has already completed it. If the student is taking the class when the question is asked, they need to fill out a contract form. Students need to describe the criteria for the Certificate of Civic Engagement that the course reflects and the contract form needs to be signed by the instructor.

If the student has already completed the class and is at a point in the program where they need that class for credit, please consult with Dr. Baack.

The certificate program is designed so that classes students already have to take will count for credit towards this program. We do not want students to have to spend any extra money on courses. If a student is having an issue with this, please talk to your coach or Dr. Baack.

Ok, so I have spaced off for a year. What do I do?
If we haven't heard from you in a year, we have most likely scanned your folder into our computer system and shredded the hard copy. You may still rejoin the program and pick up where you left off. You do not have to start over or repeat anything you have already completed. If you stopped in the middle of an action plan, we can rewrite the plan so it is applicable to the activity you are presently doing.

What happens when I mess up?
You keep going! We can help you recover from any stumbles. For example, if you don’t complete an action plan in the time you planned, talk to your coach. If one semester just wasn’t enough time, you can work on it the next semester as well. If the goals you set weren't met, your coach can help you rework them into goals you can accomplish in the next semester. If we lose contact with you for an extended period of time, we may drop you from the program. Remember you can always pick back up where you left off just by emailing your coach. We all realize that life happens. If you get busy or issues arise, we understand if you need a break or do not follow through with your action plan. As long you have enough time left before you graduate, we can help you overcome any setback.