Community Engagement & Service

Community-Based Learning Course Designation Request Form

Please complete the form below to submit your request for the Community-Based Learning Course Designation (CB). Currently the designation is available for undergraduate courses. Once approved, your course will be listed with the letters "CB" through the registrar. This will enable students to search for a list of all community-based learning courses.

Submissions are reviewed by staff in the Center for Community Engagement & Service and a member of the CBLR review committee within 10 days of submission. They will be evaluated based on American University's definition and criteria for Community-Based Learning. You will want to be sure to note how your class meets these criteria through your syllabus or other supporting documents. Once processed, you will be notified of designation approval or with feedback on the changes necessary to earn the designation.

  • Deadline to submit for Spring 2015 Designation: TBD

AU's Community-Based Learning Definition & Criteria:

Community-based learning (CBL) (also commonly known as "service-learning") at American University is an academic, course-based pedagogy that extends and deepens classroom-based learning through meaningful involvement with a community agency, nonprofit organization, or school.  Through a planned collaboration between the professor/class and community partners, all stakeholders benefit from the CBL experience, both by meeting course objectives and addressing community-identified goals and needs.

During the course of the semester, students critically process and reflect on their experiences to heighten their engagement with central academic themes, bridge theory and practice, and contribute to clarification of their own personal values, career goals, and sense of social responsibility. Student-produced CBL service, projects, or research contribute positively to the community or organization.


1. The entire class is involved in community-based learning; it is integral to course learning goals as indicated on the syllabus and course content informs and enhances the service-learning that occurs.

2. Reciprocity is a key characteristic of the service-learning partnership. The community partnership/s meets community or organizational needs and the learning needs of students.

3. A minimum of 20 hours of service per semester is expected of CBL students or a comparable project or product if that better suits the course.

4. Faculty will prepare students for community entry and responsible participation and communication with community partner staff through academic readings and conversation.

5. Activities and assignments in the class provide a method or means for students to critically reflect on what they are learning through their community experience. These activities can take multiple forms, including group discussions, online reflective questions, journals, and participatory activities.

6. Academic credit is given for the completion of required academic assignments, not for service alone.

7. The class fosters learning from other students, from the instructor, and the community; all serve as co-educators.

8. Assessment of service-learning courses is essential. Evaluative feedback is needed from: (1) students, (2) community partner(s), and (3) the faculty member. CCES offers tools to achieve this criteria and will need access to this data.


Please indicate with which school you course is offered.
Include department and course number: ie-SIS 140 001 Please consult the Draft Schedule of Classes for specific questions related to your course and section numbers:

Please include your complete course title as listed through the registrar.