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The Community Based Course Designation

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.


  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

CBL Request Form

If you wish to designate your course as a Community-Based Learning course please complete the request form found here. 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. Deadline to apply is February 14th at 5pm.

Submissions are reviewed by staff in the Center for Community Engagement & Service. 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.

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. Deadline to apply for Fall 2018 is February 14.

Register Your Course

Community Based Learning Courses

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

Review Fall 2018 Community-Based Learning "CB" course offerings.  

Fall 2018 CB Courses (PDF)

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 offered every May.

CBL Fellow 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