Community-Based Learning

What is Community-based Learning?

Community-based learning (CBL) is a pedagogical model that connects classroom-based work with meaningful community involvement and exchange.  Within the context of equitable partnership, community organizations and students mutually benefit from the CBL experience both by meeting course objectives and addressing community-identified goals.  

Students may engage with groups including, but not limited to: nonprofits, government agencies, grassroots collectives, and other educational institutions.

The principles of CBL include:

  • Faculty, students, and community groups collaborate toward mutually pursuing community-identified goals and academic course objectives.
  • Courses provide adequate reading, reflection, and evaluation through research and other coursework; faculty meet their course objectives by preparing students for community entry, providing meaningful outlets for critical reflection, and presenting methods of rigorous evaluation.
  • Academic credit is given for classroom and community learning, demonstrated in preparation, research, evaluation, and reflection.

CPS has partnered with many faculty to provide engaged service that informs coursework. In the course "Poverty, Education, and the American Dream in Contemporary Rural America" students  tutor children at Biglerville Elementary School.Watch and read video blogs that chronicle academic exploration of the impact of poverty upon rural public education. Over the last 13 years, thousands of students in Spanish 200-level classes have tutored elementary school children at The Center/El Centro, a community education afterschool program.  The Campus Kitchen has also become a hub of service-learning for students in environmental studies, anthropology, sociology as well as peace and justice studies.