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Community-Based Research Scholars | FAQ


Office of the Provost
Fax: 202-885-2173
Leonard, Room Lower Level

Bass, Scott A.

Office of the Provost
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8061

Frequently Asked Questions

What is CBR?

Community-based research involves collaboration between researchers and community members in the design and implementation of research projects aimed at meeting community identified needs.

What makes this program distinctive?

In their first year at AU, students will acquire foundational research skills sufficient to tackle a significant research project as a collaborative, interdisciplinary cohort. Students will study the relationship between community and social issues, and will engage directly with community partners who are co-educators on issues affecting their community. Scholars will also be assigned an RA who has been specially selected with experience in community service, learning and research.

What is a living-learning community?

This residential living community creates an environment in which you can more easily build relationships with other talented students, share academic interests and experiences, and adjust to college life in D.C. together. You will live together in Hughes Hall and your roommate will be another CBRS scholar, and your classmates will live on the same floor.

The core foundational courses provide a stimulating, small-group learning experience. Each course is limited to 20 students, which promotes more discussion and interaction than is possible in large lecture classes. Each course also fulfills a university-wide requirement, and carries one additional academic credit. All courses are taught by outstanding members of the AU faculty who are respected scholars in their fields.

Who gets invited to participate?

High-achieving students who demonstrate the ability to participate in research early in their college career with a demonstrated interest and commitment in community-based learning, and willing to use their education to solve critical issues in communities.

By when must I make a decision to join the program?

Decisions to join the program must be made by May 1st.

How does participation affect financial aid?

Students admitted to American University may be eligible for merit-based or need-based aid as determined by the Office of Financial Aid. The terms of your financial aid are listed in your admission letter.

What courses are required?

You will take one of three foundational general education courses (4 credits each) in the fall and one research course in the spring. For more information, please visit the course descriptions.

Who teaches the courses?

Please visit the Meet the Faculty page.

Do the courses count towards my degree/major?

Courses will meet either the General Education or University requirements.

Where will I live?

Hughes Hall.

Who will be my roommate?

Another participant in the program.

What activities will I be involved in?

CBRS courses will combine both theory and practice and involve community engagement. You will also participate in the Freshman Service Experience (FSE).

Who will be my academic advisor?

Your academic advisor will be determined based on the program and school you applied to. Upon deposit, you will be receiving more information regarding how to contact your academic advisor.

Who do I contact with questions about the program?

Please contact with any questions regarding the program.

How long is the program?

This is a one year living-learning community with opportunities to enroll in additional community-based designated courses.

What happens if I change my mind and decide not to participate after the first semester?

You are still considered an AU student; however, on a case-by-case basis may not remain in the living-learning community in Hughes Hall. Your merit scholarship will not be affected.

Is the merit scholarship contingent upon my completion of the program?

No. Merit scholarship is contingent upon meeting the requirements outlined in your scholarship letter.

What should I do if I have questions regarding my financial aid?

Please email as soon as possible to inquire further about your financial aid package.

Will the courses focus on direct service or administrative work?

It varies depending on how each faculty member designs their course. For example, the College Writing course typically does direct service related to youth with groups such as Horton's Kids. Students in the Poverty and Culture course have carried out service projects which included preparing meals and serving food to the homeless population in D.C. through Thrive D.C., working with families around transitional housing though A Wider Circle, or supporting seniors in We Are Family. At times, there is some administrative office support requested by a community-based organization but that is usually combined with other types of service. Any community-based learning will be supplemented with reflection activities, presentations, journal entries, neighborhood visits, readings, and mini-workshops offered in other campus offices, based on the community service learning project.