Office of Community-Based Learning

The Office of Community-Based Learning coordinates all Washington and Lee community engagement activities institution-wide. Resources are available for students, faculty, staff and community partners.  

Community-Based Learning inspires action by integrating academic study with civic engagement. By learning in, with and about communities, students develop critical intellectual and civic virtues consistent with the Washington and Lee University mission. Faculty, staff, students and community participants collaborate to create reciprocal, mutually beneficial partnerships. Students engage in coursework, research, internships or co-curricular activities with community participants. CBL opportunities are possible in all academic disciplines. 

CBL Course Criteria Packet

A team of faculty, community partners, and administrators invested in CBL came together to collaboratively articulate W&L's community-based learning standards in 2019. Taken together, these elements encompass all of the essential elements of CBL at W&L. Click here to view the resulting course standards packet.

2019-2020 CBL Course Support

Community-Based Learning (CBL) Course Designation
This designation is the result of a two-year process toward creating a campus-wide, cohesive vision for community-based learning at W&L. A cohort of thirteen faculty, community partners, and administrators co-created the elements for designation based upon nationally recognized best practices and the practices of our peer institutions. If you are interested in seeking designation, please consult with the Office of Community-Based Learning. Apply now for designation of Winter/Spring 2020 courses.

CBL Course (Re)design Grant Opportunity
The Community-Based Learning (CBL) Working Group is accepting proposals from faculty and instructors interested in integrating community-based learning into new or existing courses. The purpose of the grant is to support faculty and a community partner or community partners in the collaborative design or redesign of a course to align it with W&L's newly defined community-based learning criteria. The grant seeks to encourage the integration of learning and mentorship with community engagement through reciprocal community partnerships. These collaborations aim to benefit students, community partners, and the greater good. Any instructor is eligible to apply. Stipends are available for both faculty and community partners. If you are interested in seeking funding, please consult with the Office of Community-Based Learning. Apply now for funding toward courses to be held in Winter/Spring 2020.

Service Learning

Students relate service experience with community partners to learning objectives using structured reflection and learning activities, typically within a credit-bearing academic course. Students are placed in selected service sites where they serve the mission of the organization while applying and extending their knowledge and skills. Examples of service learning include internships, practica and field experiences.

Community-Based Research

CBR is a partnership of students, faculty and community members who collaboratively engage in research with the purpose of solving a pressing community problem or effecting social change. Students can do CBR as part of a course assignment, a capstone, an independent study project or a thesis. 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. CBR projects are supported by the Community-Academic Research Alliance (CARA).