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Community Engagement & Service

The CB Course Designation

CB Definition

Community-based learning (CBL) (also 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.

CB Criteria

  1. The entire class is involved in community-based learning
  2. Reciprocity is a key characteristic of the service-learning partnership
  3. Students complete a minimum of 20 service-learning hours
  4. Faculty members prepare students for community entry
  5. Students critically reflect on their experiences
  6. Credit is earned for learning not for service alone
  7. Students, the instructor, and the community serve as co-educators
  8. All courses are assessed at the student, community partner and faculty levels

Designate Your Course

Are you a faculty member teaching a course incorporating community-based learning or research? Follow the link to register your course for the CB designation.

Register your Course

CBL Courses

Interested in teaching, taking, or collaborating with a community-based learning course? 

Review these course offerings.

Spring 2018 Courses

Become a CBL Faculty Fellow

Join a network of faculty dedicated to community-based learning through participation in the annual Community-Based Learning Faculty Fellows' Institute. 

The Institute is offered every May. Return in the Spring semester for additional details.

More Information

CBL Related Events and Opportunities

Interested in Community-Based Learning? Follow the link below for information on AU's Annual Community-Based Learning events. 


CBL Events