Community Engagement Center (CEC) was formed in 1997 by faculty, staff, students, and community members who wanted to better mobilize the University of New Mexico’s resources and talents toward civic engagement. In support of the university’s mission towards increased public responsibility and service to the community, the College of Education’s Policy center engaged in a wide variety of outreach activities in the late 1990s. Much of this outreach work was tied to creating long-term immersion experiences for faculty and students at the community level.

CEC has a decade-long track record as one of New Mexico’s most innovative community-oriented learning organizations. From its beginnings as a small pilot project, CEC programming has grown to impact more than 30 underserved communities and neighborhoods statewide.

CEC focuses on the margins of our society and on the populations that receive the least sustained support to succeed in the educational system. Its UNM Service Corps has been featured as a model program at several national and international conferences. The Corporation for National & Community Service has recognized CEC as one of the nation’s leading campus-based service corps programs. Three times it has been recognized as an emerging model or exemplary program in New Mexico by foundations and public commissions. There is no other service corps program in the state of New Mexico with its breadth, comprehensiveness, and community connections.