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Urban Community Engagement Fellows Program

Recruitment for 2024-2025 Academic Year is Now Closed

The Urban Community Engagement Fellows (UCEF) Program is a joint initiative of Michigan State University’s Graduate School and the Office of University Outreach and Engagement.

UCEF will pair a multidisciplinary team of MSU graduate students with Lansing-area community partners to envision and complete collaborative community-identified projects that make a substantive difference in revitalizing Lansing.

Like many mid-sized metropolitan areas, the Greater Lansing region is in a period of re-envisioning and revitalization, with a great opportunity to build upon its heritage and strengths while embracing neighborhood and downtown redevelopment possibilities. MSU is well positioned to be a partner as Lansing moves forward in transformative ways that honor both its past and its emerging future success.

Urban Community Engagement Fellows program meets with South Lansing leaders for a panel on the needs of the community and how MSU can engage.

2024-2025 Cohort

For the 2024-2025 academic year, fellows will engage with community partner(s) in the Greater Lansing area to complete a project in collaboration with MSU and the community partner(s). Fellows will be completing community-identified projects as a multidisciplinary team.

This program will follow best practices of place-based community engagement. UCEF participants are expected to:

  • Focus on community-identified priorities.
  • Ground their approach and activities in diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging.
  • Emphasize reciprocity and mutual benefit in partnerships.
  • Take a strengths-based approach.
  • Address underlying causes and identify levers of community change.
  • Collaborate with a multidisciplinary cohort of fellows for learning, action, and reflection.
  • Generate deliverables of value to both community partners and graduate fellows.
  • Share their experiences through a research poster or presentation, developed in collaboration with cohort members.

Who Can Apply

This fellowship program is for MSU graduate students with an interest in interdisciplinary team approaches to community engagement in urban areas. UCEF welcomes applicants from all colleges and programs. Applicants should be enrolled as full-time graduate students, making good progress toward degree completion, and in good academic standing.


Fellows in the program are expected to commit 5-8 hours per week including:

  • Orientation
  • Regular meetings with the program coordinator (2-hour blocks/week)
  • Workshops attended as a team/cohort
  • Community partner meetings in Lansing
  • Completion of a project agreed upon by the community partner(s), students, and the program coordinator.

Fellows are expected to meet in person; this is not a virtual program. Fellows will need to be enrolled in both the fall and spring semesters. Fellows will receive $7,500 total for the two semesters. Fellows will be acknowledged at an end-of-year event.


Prospective fellows should complete an online application, which includes:

  • A brief application form
  • A C.V. or resume
  • A 1–2-page statement of interest
  • The names and contact information from two professional references. Letters of support are not needed

Apply for UCEF Program

Three to five applicants will be accepted into the program based on the advisory committee’s assessment of prospective fellows’ commitment to community engagement; interest in working on an interdisciplinary team; commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and the potential for the UCEF program to contribute to their personal and professional development.

Applications for the UCEF program are due on April 12, 2024. Application reviews, interviews, and offers will be extended by May.


For further information or questions, please contact:

Brittany Finch
Coordinator,Urban Community Engagement Fellows Program
Office for Public Engagement and Scholarship
University Outreach and Engagement