Community Based Learning Designation

Updated 03 01 18

Community Based Learning (CBL)  is a pedagogical tool used in coursework that requires students to engage with community partners as part of their required academic work in a specific course section. CBL can be adopted as a designation on the Banner system (similar to SWS), allowing course sections to be identified both during registration and on student transcripts. 

CBL Designation Criteria

In order to be considered for the CBL designation, a sample course section syllabus (not Syllabus of Record) must be created that addresses the following four criteria, which represent best practices regarding CBL pedagogical requirements: 

  1. Community engagement: The types of community interaction must be articulated, as well as listing potential partners.
  2. Application and integration: Guided by their instructor and working with a community partner, students engage with a community issue, integrating theory and practice.
  3. Reciprocity: The community experience seeks to offer value to the community partner as well as to the students.
  4. Reflection: Students participate in an articulated reflection process around the community experience. For example, the professional, ethical, and civic dimensions of the experience.

For the purposes of this designation we define community as any organization or group that is separate from GVSU. This could include a non-profit organization, an industry business, or an informally organized group of people interested in a particular issue. In this way, faculty have the opportunity to engage outside the university with entities that may have a shared interest and/or expertise in the focus of the course. I t is always incumbent upon that faculty to examine the student learning needs and course objectives in balance with the community interests prior to forming the partnership.

Approval Process

Courses that meet the criteria should be submitted by faculty for review to UCC.

  1. Faculty member creates a sample course section syllabus (not Syllabus of Record) that clearly indicates how the course meets the four criteria.
  2. Email the sample section syllabus, along with memo that evidences Unit Head and College Dean Approval , to the UCC chair.
  3. If approved by UCC, the author, Unit Head, Dean and the Records office will be notified, allowing the unit to add the CBL designation on sections of the course during schedule building. (The CBL designation works like the SWS designation: Once a course is approved to use the designation, units can add the CBL designation to any section of the course that meets the criteria. Some sections may have the designation, while others don't.)