The positive outcomes of community-based learning have been shown to be directly related to the quality of its implementation. At CLCE, our aim is to help students and faculty implement projects that reflect the following values:
Co-creation of Projects with Community Partners
Community-partners should have an important role in the way projects take shape.
Intentional Student Learning Goals
The most successful projects begin with considerable thought to what students will learn from the experience. These goals should be clear to everyone involved, including students and community partners.
Sustained Campus/Community Partnerships
While community needs and goals for student learning sometimes change over time, CLCE has found that on-going relationships between community partners and faculty or student leaders have many benefits for both students and the needs of community organizations.
In community-based learning courses, the community engagement component of a course should be integrated with the other elements of the course: readings, assignments, class discussions and other teaching and learning strategies. In co-curricular projects, the community engagement should have a clear connection to the group's mission and goals.
Research shows that the reflection component of community-based learning is critical to producing the transformational learning this pedagogy is capable of. Be sure to spend time before, during and after the project talking about what is happening and what both the students and the community partners are gaining/learning.
Build Student Capacity to Engage in Community Work
Besides learning how to complete the required tasks, some students may need help managing relationships and dealing with ambiguous problems and roles. Attention to issues of diversity, privilege and power will help students engage with community members more sensitively.
Attention to Civic Learning
In addition to learning course-related content, our programs help students understand the public purposes of higher education. Students build on competencies needed to be effective civic actors.
(Note: these CLCE Values are partially grounded in work by Clayton and O’Steen, 2010)