Community-Based Learning and Community Engagement Research
Theory-to-practice opportunities for students to "promote greater cognitive compexity, make learning more relevant to today's societal issues, and foster civic skills and inclinations necessary for society's future leaders" (CSHE, 2006).
The Community Engagement Center supports faculty and instructors who desire to teach a community based learning course. While some professors like to manage the entire course on their own, for those who are interested but would like some support, there are many ways in which the Community Engagement Center can help. For more information, please email us.
The Community Engagement Center can:
- Help identify a community based project to support course learning outcomes
- Facilitate the introduction to, and relationship with, community partner
- Help Identify potential course deliverables
- Provide in-class orientation to community engagement for course participants
- Provide supplemental information for course and syllabus design
- Provide student course-related service tracking and validation
- Provide support for transportation for students to community-based service sites
The Community Engagement Center can help match a course and community partner from either perspective. As we engage with the community we become aware of needs and potential service opportunities, and can seek a course with appropriate course goals. We can also take course goals, and seek out a potential community partner with a project best suited to reflect those goals.
How does COMMUNITY BASED LEARNING (CBL) benefit students?
Survey data from more than 1,500 college students indicate overwhelming success, with nine out of ten students reporting improved attitudes toward academic learning and increased likelihood of becoming involved in future community service work. Perhaps most significantly,nearly 90% of American Indian, Black/African American, and Hispanic/Latino students said that they are more likely to complete a college degree after participating in service learning. (p10)
C.Cress, C. Burack, D. Giles Jr., J. Elkins, and M.Carne-Stevens, (2010). A Promising Connection: Increasing College Access and Success through Civic Engagement, Campus Compact.
For many years, proponents of community based learning pedagogy have suggested that students recognize numerous benefits. Only fairly recently have these benefits been documented and have found this pedagogy to enhance the achievement of the curricular goals of the courses in which it is embedded.
In a community based learning course, students:
- Challenge personal and social assumptions, values and beliefs
- Develop deliberative, collaborative, and leadership skills
- Consider the civic, moral and ethical implications of the application of knowledge in professional and civic life
- Connect academic content with hands-on experience by exploring related community opportunities
- Increase sense of self-efficacy and develop analytical skills
Community Based Research is sometimes a “next step,” following from, or growing out of, a community based learning project or course. The Community Engagement Center can help in the development of an agreement and identification of deliverables, but may also direct the course instructor and/or the community partner to other more well-suited campus resources such as Undergraduate Research Opportunity Center, (UROC) http://uroc.ucmerced.edu/ or the Resource Center for Community Engaged Scholarship, (ReCCES) http://recces.ucmerced.edu.