Upcoming Events

1,000 students participate annually in 140 community-based learning projects

Community-Based Learning

Community-based learning (CBL) is an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world experiences while serving their communities. 

Professors and community partners work together to develop projects that allow students to enhance their classroom knowledge, develop leadership skills, network with community leaders, and meet identified community needs.

Designated CBL courses can be applied toward the Community Engagement Certificate. The CE certificate is a 13-credit/five-course certificate that promotes student understanding of community needs, facilitates networking opportunities, and looks great on a resume whether applying for future employment or graduate school.

Amy Garrigan, Community Engagement Specialist
(262) 595-2312

CBL for Students

What is Community-Based Learning (CBL)?

How many times have you spent hours on a paper or project, only for it to be seen and graded by the instructor, and then filed away or thrown out?

With community-based learning, you do real projects that make a difference in the community. For example: instead of creating a brochure for an invented company, you produce a brochure for a local nonprofit organization that is used long after your grade is recorded. During this process, you:

  • Learn how to work with a client
  • Learn more about the community in which you live
  • Contribute a valuable service to the community
  • Add to your resume or portfolio
  • Make contacts that will be valuable to your career
List of CBL Courses for Fall 2019

Benefits of Community-Based Learning for Students:

  • Provides an opportunity to apply classroom learning to real life settings
    • Enhances your understanding of subject matter
    • Reinforces lectures and readings
    • Connects students to each other
    • Helps with problem solving
  • Promotes personal growth
    • Enhances your self esteem
    • Breaks down ethnocentrism
    • Develops leadership skills
    • Broadens your world view
    • Promotes further community involvement
  • Enhances career development
    • Helps solidify ideas of future career plans
    • Builds resumes
    • Develops networks
    • Connects students with future job opportunities
Opportunities for students to becoming involved with Civic Engagement:
  • Community-Based Learning Courses -Take a course that is designated as providing CBL credit
  • Community Engagement Certificate - Take multiple courses designated as providing CBL credit that can count towards a Certificate in Community-Based Learning



CBL for Faculty

Community-Based Learning, or academic service-learning, is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

The Community Engagement Office can help you:

  • Find a community partner whose needs match the learning objectives of your course
  • Arrange for a community partner to come to class or meet with faculty and/or students
  • Conduct training/orientation for students
  • Provide templates of contracts, time sheets, etc.
  • Identify resources on best practices of of CBL
  • Connect you with other faculty on campus who are experienced in CBL

If you are interested in learning more about community-based learning or integrating it into your courses, contact the Community Engagement office at cblinfo@uwp.edu.

Faculty Resources

CBL Course Designation Form

This form should be completed by the individual seeking the Community Based Learning (CBL) designation for the course.  Once completed, submit this form to cblinfo@uwp.edu, with the course syllabus and supporting documentation (such as CBL related assignment).


Sample syllabi:


  • Partner agreement form template
  • Timesheet
  • Behavior contract
  • Field trip form

Online resources:

Local community information:


Guidelines for Student Reflection:

Reflection is a key component of community-based learning that guides students to examine critical issues related to their civic engagement. Reflection asks the following questions:

  • What?
    • What did I do and observe?
    • What issue am I addressing?
  • So what?
    • What impact is my experience having on me?
    • What did I do that was effective and why?
    • What was not effective and how might I improve on this?
    • What have I learned about myself?
  • Now what?
    • What commitment am I making to my community as a result of this project?
    • What other projects might I seek out that offer civic engagement?
CBL for Community

Community-based learning projects match faculty and students to the needs of the nonprofit, government, and business community.

  • Fill a need in your organization
  • Connect with experts at the university
  • Expose students to your mission
  • Recruit future long-term volunteers

Sample projects include research, marketing plans, strategic plans, graphic design, web page design, database design, security audits, GIS mapping, communication plans, personnel training, conflict resolution, applied health sciences, and more.

Organizations interested in working with a Community-Based Learning project should contact. Amy Garrigan garrigan@uwp.edu or (262) 595-2312 at the Community Engagement office.




CBL Projects

At UW-Parkside each year approximately

  • 50 courses are matched to community organizations
  • 1,300 students in 25 different majors participate
  • Projects include research, marketing plans, strategic plans, graphic design, web page design, database design, security audits, GIS mapping, communication plans, personnel training, conflict resolution, and more.

Organizations interested in working with a community-based learning course should contact Amy Garrigan at (262) 595-2312 at the Community Engagement Office

Community Engagement Certificate

This 13 credit certificate centers on courses that have real world applications that complement your learning objectives. If you want to graduate with experience related to your field while contributing to the community, this certificate is for you.


  • Deepen your understanding of course concepts
  • Achieve an understanding of community needs
  • Contribute a valuable service to your community
  • Add to your resume or portfolio
  • Make valuable connections for future employment

How can I get this certificate?

Use this declaration form and contact Community Engagement for advising (262) 595-2312 or cblinfo@uwp.edu.

You need thirteen CBL credits to receive the certificate: 

  • Take CBL 101: Introduction to Community Engagement (3 credits)
  • Take nine credits of CBL elective courses
  • Take the CBL 495 Community Engagement Capstone course (1 credit)

See the Community Engagment Certificate page here.

900 Wood Road · P.O. Box 2000 · Kenosha, WI 53141-2000 P 262-595-2345

Who Are You?

Tell Us