Information for First Year Students

What is Community Based Learning?

Community Based Learning (CBL) combines civic engagement with academic instruction, critical thinking, and reflection in a reciprocal relationship that benefits students, community partners, and faculty.

Benefits of CBL Courses

  • Hands-on, experiential learning opportunity

  • Weekly engagement with a community agency

  • Reflection on CBL experience through course discussions and assignments, which serves to enhance the understanding of course content

  • Understanding and appreciation for people and experiences that are different from their own

Quick Facts about CBL

  • CBL office secures all placement sites and uses a preference sheet to assess student interest

  • CBL students are assigned a Community Mentor to help guide the overall CBL experience

  • CBL Students consistently attend each week

  • Transportation provided in most cases


Impactful Leadership: Theory and Practice

Leadership involves influence. The modern view sees leadership more as a process of mobilizing a group toward a common goal than a set of inborn traits. Throughout the course, we will explore leadership theory and discuss how it applies to real life situations in our ever-changing world. Leadership topics to be explored include self-confidence, motivation, vision, integrity, and overcoming adversity. Clearly communicating a message through public-speaking, prose, or modern media is essential to influencing others and will be focused upon in the course. In addition to reading texts, you will participate in various writing assignments, group projects, and public speaking. Students will then get to practice their leadership skills through a community based learning (CBL) component.


Students in “Life/Sentences” will have class in a medium security state prison 50 miles from campus, alongside incarcerated classmates in a setting modeled on the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program begun at Temple University. All students will be interviewed by the professor before enrolled into the course.

Organizing for Change, Power, Angecy, and Resistance

Police brutality, access to healthcare, and the gender pay gap have directed public attention to the problems of systematic racial and gender oppression. But how do we create change? How can oppression be challenged? Can knowledge of social identity and notions of power shape social change and create resistance to oppression? Through experiential learning, students will have the opportunity to critically reflect on how constructs of identity and social systems influence change. We will consider how a recognition of norms can be used to heal and resist oppression that emerge in our everyday interactions.

Peace Begins with Me

By spending approximately 2 hours a week at local, off-campus social service agencies, students will enrich their exploration of our course’s core questions: What does "peace" mean?  How might we, even in our everyday lives, help to create a culture of peace and compassion?  We will read about peace, non-violence, and compassion and consider moral doctrines advocating alternatives to violence.

Other Courses Offered Through the CBL Office