The Apprenticeship in Community-Engaged Research Program provides undergraduate students with a variety of opportunities to participate in community-engaged scholarship. (H)ACER trains students in participatory research methodologies and creates opportunities for students to work in real world contexts. In collaboration with our community partners, students engage in projects that address pressing issues such as social, economic, educational, and environmental injustice through an approach that seeks to honor the cultural, social and epistemological strength of community members. 

As students move through the HACER internships and classes, they may become eligible for a Colleges Nine or John R. Lewis College Leadership Certificate or a Pathways to Academic Distinction Award.

Some opportunities for undergraduates include:

  • CLTE 35: Knowledge and Justice (5 units): This course serves as an introduction to the (H)ACER program at John R. Lewis College and the ideas and practices of critical research.This course aims to give students a foundation in: (1) understanding the context of the research university, and (2) developing an understanding of critical research methods developed to work with communities. This course grapples with the questions of how to conduct research in an ethical way. And how universities and communities build relationships that both recognize and are not foreclosed by histories of violence. The course pays particular attention to these power dynamics with regards to race, class, gender, and nationality. Course fulfills general elective Ethnicity and Race (ER). The course final project is a research proposal grounded in the background and theory of the class, as well as the student's own interests. 
  • CLTE 30: (H)ACER Internships (2-units): Students may work in an after school garden enrichment program and support programming in the one-acre school and community garden. or work with a local community based organization affiliated with (H)ACER. Check Program Schedule for Internship Availability.
  • Re-Thinking Service Learning: Alternative Spring Break (2-units): The five day student-led experience from the Saturday of spring break to the following Wednesday,provides a unique experience for UCSC students to participate in intergenerational and intercultural dialogue and learn about the rich and complicated geopolitical histories of Santa Cruz County. Offered Spring Quarter. Informational sessions start in the third week of winter session. Students must attend an informational session to apply.
  • CLTE 92: The Social Justice Issues Curriculum (1-unit). This course consists of three student-organized panels focused on current social, cultural and political issues in Santa Cruz County. Student leaders conceptualize and organize three panels with local community leaders to discuss their work and their approaches to leadership and community work. Students then gather in the week between each panel to reflect upon and discuss these different leadership approaches and the different issues the community leaders address. Throughout the class, students reflect upon their own labor and positionality in a social change ecosystem (Deepa Iyer) and make connections across the different organizations represented to explore the various ways individuals can contribute to social justice.
  • CLTE 135: Community-Engaged Research Methodologies (5-units). This course takes a holistic approach in familiarizing students about how to effectively and ethically conduct community engaged research, from contextualized understandings of power and knowledge to hands-on training in various methodologies through a class project. The topical focus of the course varies (e.g. sustainability, water justice, educational equity etc.). Offered Spring Quarter.
  • Leadership Positions: Students have the opportunity to apply for paid positions to run the following programming:
    • Calabasas After School Garden Program Lead: Students coordinate with (H)ACER staff and faculty to support the enrichment program.
    • PRAXIS Coordinator: Student coordinates weekly club meetings and monthly workdays with different community organizations in Santa Cruz county. 
    • Alternative Spring Break Co-Leads: Students work with (H)ACER staff and faculty to organize and lead a week long class with local organizations centered on educational equity and environmental, and economic justice.
    • College Nine and John R. Lewis College Garden Club Leads: Students work with (H)ACER staff to organize and lead club meetings and maintain our colleges’ community garden.

(H)ACER Undergraduate Researcher: Students who advance through the (H)ACER Program may also join community-engaged research labs to support and contribute to  research projects throughout the year. Students may apply after completing CLTE 135. 

Community Research Labs: We develop deep partnerships with a select few schools and community organizations and support social justice oriented practices and programs at these sites (called ‘community research labs’).  Our research projects and community sites are tied together through the following themes: education, schooling, Land, environment, food and imagining sustainable futures.