What is community-based learning?
In the McGovern Center, we use this definition to help explain this kind of service:
Community-based learning is an intentional pedagogical strategy to integrate student learning in academic courses with community engagement. This work is based on reciprocal and mutually beneficial partnerships between instructors, students, and community groups. The goal is to address community-identified needs and ultimately create positive social change. Critical reflection is an essential component of community-based learning; it serves to enhance students’ learning of course content, understanding of the community, and sense of civic agency.
(Taken from University of Colorado- Boulder CU Engage website: http://www.colorado.edu/cuengage/about-us/what-community-based-learning)
Here at DWU, the McGovern Center works with faculty and our community partners to help create an engaging, educational service experience for the classroom, that helps to enhance student learning– specifically as it relates to their course curriculum or degree program.
Here are some examples of community-based learning projects we’ve done this year:
The Abbott House
- DWU Business Finance students helped to teach a financial literacy course to students at the Abbott House. The girls there learned finance basics, budgeting, goal-setting, credit, and a variety of other topics, while the DWU students were able to explore their own knowledge by teaching what they themselves have learned in the classroom.
- DWU upper-level Experimental Psychology students assisted in a community-based research project where they provided research into various therapeutic techniques. They gave a special emphasis to neurofeedback– a technique the Abbott House had been interested in learning more about. The students then presented the data to the Abbott House staff, which allowed them to move forward in implementing this as a possible route for their organization.
James Valley Community Center
- DWU Social Psychology students partnered up with members of JVCC and met with them several times throughout the semester to engage in conversation and build relationships. The students practiced interview skills and learned more about inter-generational relationships. More importantly, we think, there were some awesome friendships built (that continued even after the project!)
Community Garden and Mitchell Area Food Pantry
- Students collected leftover produce from area gardens at the end of the growing season and donated the produce to the food pantry. These students were taking a class titled, “Ending Hunger”, and learned about food security, access to healthy foods, and nutrition. Finding out that it is often challenging to have access to healthy, nutritious food when most of your meals come from food pantries, donating fresh produce that would have otherwise gone to waste helped!
PLUS, many, many more! Feel free to email us if you’d like to keep in the loop about other CBL projects in the future! We will do our best to keep updating here, too!
Carly Hubers- McGovern Center Program Coordinator- firstname.lastname@example.org