Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins (JC:HEM)

Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins brings higher education to those at the margins of our societies – those who have limited access to, or are underserved by, higher education. It offers a fully accredited online 45 credit Diploma in Liberal Studies and a portfolio of Community Service Learning tracks (CSLT) delivered locally.
Implementer: 
Jesuit Commons HIgher Education at the Margins (JCHEM)
Implementer Status: 
Year launched: 
2010
Operational status: 
Total number of learners served: 
500
Female: 
20%
Male: 
80%

Location Data

Launch country:

 
City: 
Dzaleka, Malawi; Kakuma, Kenya; Aleppo, Syria; Amman, Jordan
Geography type: 
Program Description: 

Data provided by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), which implements refugee assistance programs in 51 countries with the help of over 1,400 volunteers, estimated that the average stay in a refugee community is 18 years. This estimate motivated university faculty to fill a growing need for tertiary education in refugee communities.

Jesuit Commons Higher Education at the Margins (JC:HEM) was formed in 2009 with the goal of creating a "sustainable, scaleable, and transferable" model to deliver tertiary education to those at the margins of our societies. The model seeks to combine the growing expertise in online delivery techniques with the expertise of JRS in supporting refugee communities in camp and urban settings. It offers a fully accredited online 45 credit Diploma in Liberal Studies and a portfolio of Community Service Learning tracks (CSLT) delivered locally. Free at the point of delivery, JC:HEM is taught by online volunteer faculty from around the world supported by site-based staff employed by its implementing partner, the Jesuit Refugee Service. 

Its tertiary education programs were launched in 2010. JC:HEM currently operates three learning centers in three countries, mobilizing volunteer faculty from around the world via online coursework and community service-based learning. JC:HEM admits a cohort of 90 students each academic year, and has plans to expand to at least 10 sites with a stable student population of more than 1,000 students.

JC:HEM's academic program has two elements:

  • A portfolio of Community Service Learning Tracks (CSLT): CLSTs are delivered face-to-face and are designed to meet specific needs in the community. CLST are delivered over 16 weeks and include disciplines such as counseling, business, entrepreneurship, health and English as a learned language. CSLTs are developed in collaboration with on-site facilitators and International Faculty input.
  • A Diploma in Liberal Studies: The Diploma is delivered online via digital file sharing platforms. The Diploma is accredited by Regis Universiy in Denver, Colorado and comprises a total of 45 US credits (15, 8 week courses, studied over three years). The Diploma has two elements: a compulsory 10 course foundation which includes courses in Philosophy, World Religions, Leadership etc, and an elective 5 course concentration. Concentrations are currently offered in Education and Business. All courses are donated by participating institutions and taught by volunteer faculty from around the world. To date, more than 130 faculty have taught Diploma courses.