Plan Your CBL Course Apply for course designation or a course (re)design grant and access tools for assessing student learning in your CBL courses.


CBL Course Types – Student Learning Outcomes – Additional Resources and Apply for Support

CBL Course Types

There are four ways your class could engage in collaboration with a community partner. Please contact our office to discuss which type(s) might be the best fit for your course.

Community-Based Research

Students, faculty, and community partners collaboratively engage in research with the purpose of addressing a community-defined interest or aspiration. Community partners and faculty are involved in all stages of the research project, including defining the research question, participating in the design and implementation of the project, and shaping the final deliverable product.

Outcomes of recent CBR courses

In CBSC 413, two senior capstone students partnered with regional leadership working to address homelessness. Students collected and analyzed quantitative data and shared the outcomes with their community partners.

In ENV 111, some students partnered with a local childcare facility. Students conducted research on how to create sustainable playgrounds and presented the information, alongside their recommendations, to their community partner.

Site-Based Activities

Faculty and community partners place students at sites where they serve the mission of the organization while also applying and extending their knowledge and skills. Students relate community-based service experience to learning objectives using structured reflection and learning activities.

Outcomes of recent site-based courses

In ECON 235: Economics of Social Issues, students engaged with numerous local agencies including childcare centers, nursing homes, and food pantries. Students expanded their understanding of real-world economics within the context of aging, food security, education, and other dimensions of society.

In BIO 275: Food for Thought, some students engaged with Campus Garden and Campus Kitchen. By participating in gardening and food recovery shifts, students witnessed the cyclical, multidimensional nature of local food systems firsthand.

Project-Based Activities

Students, faculty, and community partners collaborate on a project with the purpose of addressing a community-defined interest or aspiration. Community partners and faculty are involved in all stages of the project, including participating in the design and implementation of the project and shaping the final deliverable product.

Outcomes of recent project-based courses

In FILM 238: Documentary Filmmaking, students and faculty partnered with a local domestic violence/sexual assault agency that offers educational services as well as a shelter and hotline. The team created a documentary about the advocacy work of that organization.

In ENGN/PHYS 378/379, some Engineering capstone students conducted a traffic study in partnership with the City of Lexington. After the study was complete, the students proposed traffic pattern changes to the City.

Community-Partnered Seminars

Students join faculty and learning partners from the wider community to read, discuss, and learn together about a topic of broad social relevance. This model, increasingly common within the context of correctional institutions, may also include other community partners and typically occurs off-campus.

Outcomes of recent community-partnered seminars

There are currently three W&L courses (in BUS, POV, and SOAN) taught annually by W&L faculty and held at Augusta Correctional Center. These community-partnered seminars bring together W&L students and individuals who are incarcerated to study topics including: team dynamics (BUS), identity construction (SOAN), and justice and mercy (POV).


Student Learning Outcomes

Three required outcomes

CBL courses have three particular learning outcomes that were co-created by faculty, staff, and community partners invested in community engaged teaching and learning.

  • Analyze the mission, structure, and work of community partners in addressing the public good.
  • Collaborate effectively and respectfully with community-based learning partners, faculty, students, and/or other stakeholders to meet community-defined aspirations and interests.
  • Integrate classroom learning experiences with community learning experiences.

Choose an additional outcome

Incorporate at least one of these additional CBL learning outcomes:

  • Articulate how community-based learning contributes to the evolution of students' personal, professional, academic, and/or civic identities.
  • Identify and critically examine perspectives and experiences different from the student's own in order to understand the interrelationships between and among multiple perspectives (e.g. race, gender, socioeconomic status, disciplinary background) as well as the role of the university in the community.

Additional Resources and Apply for Support

Apply for CBL Course Designation

CBL course designation criteria were co-created by faculty, staff, and community partners based upon nationally recognized best practices. Before seeking designation, please consult with the Office of Community-Based Learning.

Apply for a CBL Course (re)Design Grant

If you are looking for more input from our office and want to connect with a cohort of CBL faculty and community partners, consider applying for a CBL grant to collaboratively (re)design your course to align with CBL course criteria.